Sacramento Social Security Disability Attorney
Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney from our Sacramento law firm is an important step on the path to receiving benefits for your disabilities. Our lawyers can assist in making sure your claim has the best chance for acceptance.
This is critical, as the Social Security Administration has reported:
“The final award rate for disabled-worker applicants has varied over time, averaging nearly 45 percent for claims filed from 2000 through 2009. The percentage of applicants awarded benefits at the initial claims level averaged 28 percent over the same period and ranged from a high of 37 percent to a low of 26 percent. The percentage of applicants awarded at the reconsideration and hearing levels are averaging 3 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Denied disability claims have averaged nearly 53 percent.”
With so many claims being denied, the need to hire a Sacramento Social Security Disability attorney is critical.
What types of Disability Claims do Sacramento Social Security Disability Attorneys assist with?
Unfortunately, our Sacramento Social Security Disability Attorneys are limited to certain types of claims that qualify for Social Security benefits. Unlike other disability programs such as Workers Compensation or some private insurance programs, Social Security Disability does not provide for partial or short-term disability. Generally speaking, to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must be unable to be gainfully employed because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or possibly result in death. The condition does not necessarily have to be permanent however.
In addition to having a long-term or fatal medical condition, you generally must also meet certain recent and long-term earnings criteria. While there are some exceptions, the two main criteria are long-term disability and threshold earnings.
With respect to what specific types of benefits that we represent clients with, the list is fairly broad. Your disability does not have to be work related, genetic, or an acquired condition. Likewise, your disability does not necessarily have to be physical, but may also be mental or emotional. There are some conditions on their face such as drug or alcohol addictions that would appear to not support a disability claim; however, those limitations are not always accurate and a careful examination by our Sacramento Social Security Attorneys would be necessary to determine if you qualify.
The Application Process
For our attorneys, the application process is relatively clear. For those without legal training, or with a vested personal interest, the process can be very scary.
The application process begins with a “simple” claim/application. The claim can be completed by phone, visiting the local office, and even online. While that part is simple, it is only the first step in a typically long process.
Assuming the application is denied (like most are) the next step is to file a “Claim Reconsideration.” The application is generally reviewed by the same department that denied it originally, so changing their mind is not usually the case.
The good news, however, is that if the claim reconsideration is denied, you have a right to a Disability Hearing before an administrative law judge. This is generally your first real opportunity to make a case for your disability in person. While having a Sacramento Social Security Attorney during the previous steps may prove beneficial, having a good attorney at this point in the process is vital. This is without a doubt your best chance to establish your case, and this opportunity should not be taken lightly.
Should you unfortunately lose at this stage, your case is not over, as you do have the right to have the Office of Appeals hear your case. Unfortunately, the primary focus of the appeals process is about whether there were technical errors in the process. Appeals can be won but they are difficult—which is why the disability hearing before the Administrative Law Judge is so important.
If you have an unfortunate decision with the Office of Appeals, there are remedies that can be pursued in Federal Court, but unfortunately the chance of success in Federal Court is usually even less.
Consequently, if you believe you have a claim for Social Security Disability, you should not take the hearing before the Administrable Law Judge lightly. Hiring a Sacramento Social Security Disability attorney to assist you before the Administrative Law Judge is highly recommended.
What are some of the more common reasons that Sacramento Social Security Disability Attorneys see claims denied?
Some of the more common reasons that disability claims are denied include not only a lack of a long-term disability or meeting the historical earnings requirement, but situations when:
- Clients are currently employed and making more than the qualifying income
- How the Social Security Administration decides if you qualify and if you’re disabled
- The condition does not appear to interfere with daily work functions
- There was a lack of sufficient medical evidence to support the case.
Likewise, some of the understandable reasons why claims are denied include: the applicant was injured while committing a felony; there was dishonestly or lying in the application process; the applicant failed to cooperate with the Social Security Administration during the application process; the applicant failed to follow their medical provider’s suggested treatment program without substantial reasons; or the applicant failed to provide a means for the Social Security Administration to contact the applicant.
How much does it cost to hire a Sacramento Social Security Disability Attorney?
Like almost all attorney-client relationships, the fees to hire a social security disability attorney are negotiable. Generally speaking, our fees are on a contingency basis which means that if we do not win, you do not pay anything!
Likewise, our fee agreement provides for our payment only from past-due payments, and not not from future payments. The amount of fees charged by attorneys is subject to negotiation depending on the case, but generally our fees are limited to a maximum of 25% of the past due amounts, and not to exceed $6,000. That fee is paid directly by the Social Security Administration and deducted from your past-due benefits. If you have been denied benefits, it is generally advisable to hire a Sacramento Social Security Disability Attorney to assist you at the Administrative Law Judge hearing to give you the best chance of prevailing.