Often the hardest question for our clients is “should I file for disability?” It is often a very emotional question. People have often worked over 20 years and to decide to file for disability is a very scary decision. In short, if you are no longer able to work because of a physical or mental disability, you may be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. Disability can stem from many things such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis, depression, back injuries, strokes and many other medical or mental conditions. Obtaining Social Security can also be a long process if you are denied at the initial levels. What does the Social Security Administration consider? Social Security will consider your age, education, work history and disabilities in their determination to deny or accept your application for disability benefits. It is important to know what information the Social Security Administration finds important in making a disability benefits decision. In 2001, a California Congressmen cited statistics that support the choice of having expert representation in disability claims. In his statement, Congressman Matsui of California testified that, “…Claimants without professional representation appear to be far less likely to receive the benefits to which they are entitled. For example, in 2000, 64% of claimants represented by an attorney, but only 40% of those without one, were awarded benefits at the hearing level”. It is not uncommon to be denied a couple of times in your pursuit of Social Security disability benefits. Do not give up hope. If an application is denied at the initial level, first it will be appealed the the Reconsideration Level, it can then be appealed to a hearing before an administrative law judge, then to the Appeal’s Council and even to Federal Court. Susan O’Malley has even successfully represented clients attempting to receive Social Security at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, one step below the United States Supreme Court. The Hearing: at the hearing an attorney presents evidence gathered on your behalf, argues how your disability meets or equals a listed condition or that a combination of imparments reduces your overall ability to work. Some information includes medical records, letters from your physicians, evaluations from your physicians and witnesses on your behalf. Our office doesn’t employ non-attorney Social Security Representatives, instead our attorneys will be personally representing you. There is a limited opportunity to file or appeal a claim that has been denied, so take action as soon as you are denied. In our office Susan O’Malley, who is a Board Certified Disability Specialist by the North Carolina State Bar, reviews every accepted Social Security Case and leads our team of Social Security Attorneys. Susan, who frequently lectures other attorneys throughout North Carolina and the nation about how to assist Social Security claimants obtain their disability, has successfully represented claimants at all levels of application and appeal through the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, only one step below the United States Supreme Court. Let Susan put her experience to work helping you or your loved one obtain your disability benefits.
"UPDATE: To protect your safety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we offer video conferencing, as well as telephone conferences, in place of face-to-face meetings. Please contact our office today to set up a remote consultation."