Our professional team of Maryland Social Security disability lawyers can help you get the SSI disability benefits that you should be entitled to. If your application for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, our disability attorneys can represent you in appeal of that denial and this won't cost you anything upfront. Our benefits attorneys work on a contingency fee basis so we get a percentage of any benefits we recover on your behalf. This page will provide an overview of the SSA disability benefits process and how our attorneys can help you.Applying for Disability Benefits
Social Security will pay disability benefits to anyone unable to work because of certain medical conditions that are expected to last at least 1 year. If you are rendered unable to work for a prolonged time because of an injury or medical condition you will need to apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and get approved to receive disability benefits. SSA offers 2 ways to apply for disability benefits:
|ONLINE APPLICATION||Applicants can apply for benefits online through the SSA online application system.|
|BY APPOINTMENT||The application process can also be completed by scheduling a disability claim appointment with an SSA benefits agent at your local SSA office or by telephone interview. Appointments can be scheduled online or by calling SSA at 800-772-1213.|
To complete the application process, you will need to submit detailed information about your personal and work history. You will also need to provide a detailed explanation of what your qualifying medical condition is and medical records and treatment information to prove it. The SSA provides a checklist for disability applications that lists what you will need.Qualifying for Disability Benefits
To qualify for SSA disability benefits, applicants need to prove that they are not able to work full-time because they have a medical condition that is recognized by SSA as a severe "impairment" that qualifies as a disability. The first step in this qualifying process involves submitting the required medical information to prove that you actually have a medical condition. This involves providing detailed information about your medical history, treatment, and diagnosis in the benefits application. Applicants are also required to give SSA authorization to contact doctors and healthcare providers to obtain medical records and verify the applicant's diagnosis.
Once the applicant's medical condition is verified, the agency then must decide as to whether it qualifies as an impairment under SSA's listing of recognized impairments. SSA's listing of recognized impairments (sometimes referred to as the "Blue Book") describes medical conditions that SSA considers severe enough to prevent a person from working and qualify as disabled. If an applicant has a medical condition listed in the Blue Book, they will automatically have a qualifying disability.
If the applicant's condition does not meet the criteria for any condition listed in the SSA Blue Book, the agency must make an independent determination as to whether it qualifies as a disability. For a non-listed condition to qualify as a disability, the agency must find that the applicant's condition prevents them from doing any type of work. This is usually very difficult to establish. If a medical condition does not meet the criteria for something listed in the SSA Blue Book, the application will almost always be denied.Appealing a Denial of Disability Benefits
If your application for disability benefits is denied (whether for medical or non-medical reasons) you can appeal that decision. To file an appeal of a disability denial, an applicant must submit an appeal request form within 60 days of the denial. There are 4 potential levels of appeal from a denial of disability benefits:
- Reconsideration: the first level of appeal is called a reconsideration. This involves a complete review of the disability application by a new examiner who was not involved in the original denial. It is basically like a second chance at the original application. New evidence can be submitted and considered in the reconsideration.
- ALJ Hearing: if the reconsideration results in another denial, applicants can request a second level of appeal that involves a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ hearing is similar to a courtroom trial in that applicants can testify and call witnesses (such as medical experts) to testify in support of their application for benefits.
- SSA Appeals Council: if an applicant disagrees with the ruling of the ALJ they can request another review of that decision by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council can deny the appeal request if it believes that the ALJ may the correct decision. If the Appeals Council elects to review a case, it can issue its own decision or remand the case back to the ALJ.
- Federal Court Appeal: if an applicant has exhausted all levels of administrative appeals at the SSA, they can bring an action in federal district court and ask for judicial review of the benefit denial.
All applicants for disability benefits have the right to be represented by an attorney. You can get an attorney to represent you from the very beginning of the application process or at any level of appeal. Hiring a lawyer to represent you will significantly improve your chances of getting approved for benefits. Our disability attorneys have experience and a track record of success in getting applicants approved for benefits. While we cannot guarantee that your application for disability benefits will get approved, we can ensure that you present the best possible case for approval at all stages.
Statistics show that hiring a lawyer can significantly improve an applicant's chances of being awarded disability benefits. Disability applicants who went to an Administrative Law Judge Hearing were more than twice as likely (54%) to get approved for benefits when they were represented by a lawyer.Our Disability Lawyers Cost Nothing Upfront and Only Get Paid if We Win
Hiring our Maryland disability benefits lawyers to handle your application or appeal will not cost you any money upfront. Disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis which means they get a percentage of any benefit payments awarded if they win your claim. If you don't win, you don't owe us anything. For an SSA benefit case, we receive 25% of any back payments that SSA awards you after approving your application for benefits. So if we win your ALJ appeal and you end up getting awarded $10,000 in back benefit payments, we would receive $2,500. This percentage fee gets automatically deducted and paid to us by the SSA. The SSA also caps this 25% fee at a maximum of $6,000. This means the most of our 25% could ever be is $6,000, no matter how much we recover.Disability Lawyer FAQs
Yes. All applicants for disability benefits are entitled to be represented by attorneys at every stage of the application process. Having an attorney handle your application greatly increases your chances of being awarded disability benefits.
SSA disability benefit claims are determined based on medical evidence and whether an applicant meets certain disability criteria. An experienced disability lawyer can help your chances of getting approved for benefits by presenting the best possible case and supporting evidence.
Yes. Various studies have consistently found that disability applicants represented by lawyers are as much as 3 times more likely to be awarded disability benefits compared to applicants without an attorney.
Disability benefits lawyers work on a contingency basis, so they don't charge any money upfront. If your claim is successful, the lawyer will receive 25% of any back benefit payments awarded in your case. This 25% fee is capped at $6,000.
The odds of winning a disability appeal at the ALJ hearing level are around 45%. Approximately 75% of claimants are represented by attorneys at the ALJ appeal level. Claimants represented by an attorney are 2 times more likely to win compared to those who are not represented by an attorney.