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Social Security Disability Attorney In Los Angeles


This is NOT legal advice. This blog provides general information about Social Security Disability cases. To discuss your particular

circumstances and claim, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please feel free to contact Disability Advocates Group at (800) 935-3170

or online if you have any questions regarding your Social Security Disability claim.


Who Decides if I Should Get Disability Benefits?

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you submit your claim to the Social Security Administration. The SSA will review all of your records to determine if you meet the agency's narrow definition of disabled and are eligible to receive disability income.  It is important to understand how this decision is made, which means learning more about who actually gets to decide whether you should receive the disability income you may be depending upon if you cannot work. 

Who Decides If You Get Disability Benefits?

When you initially submit your Social Security Disability benefits claim, a review is done by the local Social Security Administration office to make sure you have a sufficient number of work credits (for Social Security Disability Insurance) or to make sure your income and resources are sufficiently limited (for Supplemental Security Income). 

If you meet the basic eligibility criteria, it becomes necessary to determine if you are sufficiently afflicted by a long-term disabling medical condition that entitles you to receive disability income.  Your application goes to disability determination services (DDS) where it is reviewed by a disability claims examiner. This examiner is going to look at your medical records and other information you have submitted to assess whether you meet the criteria to be considered disabled.  The goal is to assess whether you have a qualifying condition listed in the Blue Book, along with the requisite symptoms, or whether you have a qualifying condition equal in severity to those listed that prevents you from having a job you are qualified for. 

The disability claims examiner is going to make the decision on whether you should get benefits. However, if the claim is denied, you can make a request for reconsideration and a new disability claims examiner is going to review your case again with fresh eyes.  If a denial occurs again, then an administrative law judge will get your case and decide if mistakes were made or not. Finally, in the last stage of appeal, your case could go before a federal appellate court judge. 

This means that the decision on whether you should get benefits or not is going to be made by a different person depending upon whether your initial application is approved or whether you must appeal.  A Los Angeles disability benefits lawyer will help you to try to put together a solid application to maximize the chance a disability examiner initially approves your claim on the first try.  

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How to Appeal a Termination of Disability Benefits After a Continuing Disability Review

The Social Security Administration periodically checks to ensure that Social Security Disability (SSD) beneficiaries are still eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance income.  The process of confirming ongoing eligibility is called a Continuing Disability Review (CDR).  b2ap3_thumbnail_lawyer-investigation-code-book.jpg

If the SSA determines that you are no longer eligible to receive benefits during a CDR, then your benefits can be ended. This can be devastating if you are relying on Social Security Disability to pay your bills. Fortunately, you do not have to just accept that you will no longer have income coming in to your home. You can file an appeal after the termination of benefits.  A Los Angeles disability benefits lawyer can assist with the appeals process and help you to try to fight to keep the income that you need. 

How to Appeal a Termination of Disability Benefits

When you have had your disability benefits terminated, you can ask for a review of the decision that was made. Disability Determination Services (DDS) is in charge of reviewing the file.  Based upon the review, a DDS staff member may determine that a mistake was made and that you should be eligible for continued disability benefits after all. 

If the DDS staff member does not reverse the decision terminating your benefits, you can request a hearing with a disability hearing officer.  The DHO will review the medical and legal issues surrounding your continuing disability review to determine if mistakes were made. 

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is the next step, followed by appeal to the Social Security Administration Appeals Council and finally to the federal court. The process is similar in many ways to the initial appeals process that you may have had to undergo when first applying for benefits if your initial claim was denied. You will need to ensure you make strong arguments for why you need ongoing benefits and you will also need to make sure that you have as much evidence as possible to back up the arguments that you are making to keep your income. 

A Los Angeles disability benefits lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in trying to get your benefits back if they were terminated due to a continuing disability review. Call today to talk to a lawyer and learn more. 

 

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When will the Administrative Law Judge hearing my Social Security Disability case tell me that my case is approved?

One of the more frequently asked questions from my clients is – “Will the Administrative Law Judge tell me that my Social Security Disability (SSDI or SSI) case is approved at the hearing?”  Unfortunately, this is not a question I can answer until the end of the hearing for my client's Social Security Disability claim.  Some Administrative Law Judges will tell you at the end of your hearing that they are going to approve your Social Security Disability case.  Many will not.  If an Administrative Law Judge does not indicate that they are going to approve your case, you will have to wait to receive the decision.  In my practice this means waiting anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months.  It is important to note that just because the Judge does not approve you for Social Security Disability benefits at the hearing does not mean that he/she will deny your claim.  There are some Judges that never approve cases verbally at the hearing.  There are also some Judges that will approve some cases at the hearing and some cases after the hearing.

If you are represented by an attorney at the hearing that is experienced in handling Social Security Disability cases, they can often give you some indication as to how they believe the judge will rule.  This is however just an educated guess as it is impossible to predict with complete certainty the way a judge will rule on your particular case - unless, of course, they state their decision at the hearing on the record.

 

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Disability Advocates Group is a law firm dedicated to serving individuals who have become disabled and are seeking to obtain the benefits they need and deserve. At Disability Advocates Group, we specialize in representing disabled clients in their claims for Social Security Disability Benefits.

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