AREAS OF PRACTICE
SERIOUS LAWYERS WHO KNOW HOW TO WIN.
If you’ve been denied benefits that you deserve, you need serious social security disability lawyers, who know how to win.
What is a Disability?
If a physical or mental condition keeps you from being able to work, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. The Social Security Act Defines “disability” as “the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of a medical determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”
What Types of Benefits Are Available?
There are two main types of benefits available: Social Security Disability Insurance (Title 2) and Supplemental Security Income (Title 16). Both programs provide medical coverage for those who qualify. It is important to note that only those who have worked and paid taxes long enough to be insured for disability are eligible for SSDI. On the other hand, SSI is federal assistance for those who are disabled, but do not have the work credits necessary to be eligible for SSDI.
How Do I Apply?
You can apply for Social Security Disability online at socialsecurity.gov or by calling toll free to 1-800-772-1213. If you call the toll free number, ask for a Disability Starter Kit. Your local office will send the required paperwork and will set up an appointment for a telephone interview. When the Social Security office calls, they will walk you through your application. You do not need an attorney to file your claim with the Social Security office.
When Should I Apply?
If you suspect that your medical condition will not allow you to work for at least twelve consecutive months, you may be eligible for benefits. Don’t wait to apply. It can take eighteen to twenty-four months to work through the Social Security system. Any delay on your part may affect the type of benefits you are entitled to or the value of your benefits.
What If I’ve Been Denied?
60% of all applications are initially denied benefits, but don’t be discouraged. Just because you were initially denied does not mean that you are not entitled to Social Security benefits. If you have been denied benefits, contact an attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your application and appeal the decision. If denied, you only have 60 days to request reconsideration of your claim.
What Happens When I Ask For Reconsideration?
Often, when you appeal, you will need to appear before an Administrative Law Judge who will make an independent decision regarding your application. This hearing is informal and the strict rules of evidence do not apply, but your testimony will be taken under oath. A vocational expert will likely testify at the hearing. You must be prepared to discuss your work history and why your medical condition, whether physical or psychological, prevents you from working any type of job. An experienced attorney can help prepare you for this hearing, insure that all of your medical records have been properly submitted, and serve as your representative during the process.
When Should I Hire An Attorney?
If you’ve been denied benefits, you should contact an attorney immediately. Remember, you only have 60 days to ask for reconsideration. If you miss this deadline, it may impact the type and amount of benefits that you are entitled to and will require you to start the process over. An attorney experienced with the Social Security system gives you the best chance of getting all the benefits to which you are entitled.
How Much Will An Attorney Cost?
Attorney fees are limited to 25% of back owed benefits or $6,000, whichever is less, and must be approved by the Social Security Administration. Most attorneys will not charge a fee unless you are awarded benefits. Attorney fees are not withheld from your regular monthly checks, but rather are taken from the amount of back benefits you are awarded.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto are serious lawyers, who know how to win. Call 865-691-2777 in to set up an initial consultation to discuss your Social Security Disability case, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM. With our contingency fee arrangement, you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our office is conveniently located in Knoxville with plenty of free parking available.
CAN MY CHILD RECEIVE DISABILITY BENEFITS?
There is no Social Security disability program for children because Social Security is based upon insured status and insured status can only be gained through work activity–which children have obviously done very little of, or simply have no work activity. Social Security benefits are, however, paid to the children of disabled wage earners if they themselves have worked enough prior to becoming disabled for there to be money payable for their dependents. However, these are dependent benefits, not disability benefits.
Although children cannot apply for Social disability benefits, Social Security does administer another disability program that does provide benefits to children as long as they are medically disabled and can meet the non-disability criteria of the program (meaning, in essence, that their parents do not earn too much and that their parent’s assets, also known as “resources”, do not exceed the allowable limits).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability offers disability benefits to children whose parent or parents meet certain income and resource limits. SSI uses children’s parental income and resources if they are younger than eighteen years of age. This changes once an SSI beneficiary reaches the age of 18. At the age of 18, all children’s SSI disability claims are reevaluated under adult impairment listing criteria. And if they are found disabled, their SSI disability benefits will no longer be affected by their parent’s income and resources. SSI offers disability benefits to children found medically disabled. Once they begin receiving their benefits, their eligibility will be periodically reviewed to determine if their parent or parents, still meet the income and resource limits.
In addition to periodic reviews for income and resources, SSI beneficiaries are subject to continuing disability medical reviews, just like Social Security disability beneficiaries. Remember, SSI disability is like other social programs; therefore eligibility to receive benefits totally depends upon income and resource limits. Even if the child remains medically disabled, his or her disability benefits could be stopped if their parent’s income and resource limits are over the program’s limits.
Although Social Security does not have a disability program for children, they do have rules that allow an adult disabled child to receive disability benefits based upon their parent’s earnings record. An adult disabled child must be found medically disabled between the ages of 18 and 22 in order to receive disability benefits based upon their parent’s earnings.
There are a couple of rules that affect entitlement to adult disabled child’s benefits. One or both of the adult child’s parents must be receiving a benefit from Social Security, or be deceased, for an adult disabled child to receive disability benefits. Additionally, if the person filing as a disabled adult child performed substantial gainful work activity after the age of 22, or if they marry anyone other than another Social Security disability beneficiary, they are not eligible to receive benefits based upon the earnings record of one or both parents.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Call 865-691-2777 in Knoxville or East Tennessee to set up an initial consultation to discuss your child’s Social Security Disability case, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM for more information about our practice. With our contingency fee arrangement, you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our office is conveniently located in Knoxville with plenty of free parking available.
CAN I WORK AND RECEIVE DISABILITY BENEFITS?
There are special rules called work incentives that help you keep your disability and Medicare benefits while you test your ability to work. For example, there is a trial work period. During the trial work period, you can receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn. You just have to report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment.
The trial work period continues until you accumulate nine months (not necessarily consecutive) in which you perform what are called “services” within a rolling 60-month period. Social Security considers your work to be “services” if you earn more than $720 a month in 2010 and 2011; this amount generally changes every year or two. After the trial work period ends, your benefits will stop during months your earnings are at a level considered substantial, more than $1,000 in 2010 and 2011 (or whatever the amount is in future years).
Different amounts apply to people disabled because of blindness. The monthly substantial amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2010 and 2011 is more than $1,640. Again, this amount is likely to increase over time.
For an additional 36 months after completing the trial work period, Social Security can start your benefits again if your earnings fall below the substantial level and you continue to have a disabling impairment.
Need a Disability Lawyer? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Call 865-691-2777 in Knoxville or East Tennessee to set up an initial consultation to discuss your Social Security Disability case with one of our disability lawyers, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM for more information about our practice. With our contingency fee arrangement, you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our office is conveniently located in Knoxville with plenty of free parking available.
DISABLED WIDOW/WIDOWER BENEFITS
Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) includes a survivor benefit. If you are a disabled widow or widower of a person who received SSD benefits, you may be entitled to disability benefits.
Who Is Eligible for Disabled Widow or Widower Benefits?
As a widow or widower of a SSD recipient, benefits may be payable to you if you meet the following conditions: You are between 50 and 60 years of age. You meet the definition of disability for adults. Your disability started before your spouse’s death or within seven years after your spouse’s death.
How Do I Apply for Disability Benefits?
You can begin the process by contacting your local Social Security office and completing an Adult Disability Report. Social Security uses the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as it does for workers. If your initial application is denied, The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto can help you appeal the decision.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Call 865-691-2777 in Knoxville or East Tennessee to set up an initial consultation to discuss your Social Security Disability case, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM for more information about our practice. With our contingency fee arrangement, you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our office is conveniently located in Knoxville with plenty of free parking available.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO START RECEIVING BENEFITS?
It can take several months to receive a decision on a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI. The average turnaround for a disability claim is about 3 to 4 months from the date of filing, though this is just an average. The actual time it takes to receive a disability decision depends on several variables, such as how easy or difficult it is for a disability examiner to get copies of your medical records, as well as how many cases are piled upon the disability examiner’s desk awaiting review.
Disability decisions on initial claims and reconsideration appeals are made at state agencies, which make all disability decisions at these first two levels of consideration for the Social Security Administration. In most states, this agency is referred to as Disability Determination Services (DDS), although it may go by other, similar names depending upon the state, such as the Bureau of Disability Determination, etc.
After being assigned to a claim, a disability examiner will review the claimant’s medical records to determine if the claimant is impaired enough to prevent him or her from working at his/her current job, any job he/she has held within the past 15 years, or any other work for which he/she may be qualified. Most disability claims are not denied because there is no existing impairment, but rather because a disability examiner has been able to find some job in the national economy at which the claimant “should” be able to earn a minimum amount each month (known as the substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount).
For this reason, those applying for disability, either SSD or SSI, should be very specific on the work history submitted with the initial application. Do not just throw out job titles; instead, list actual duties performed, job skills, etc. Otherwise the examiner may assume that you have work skills, software knowledge, management experience, etc., which you do not possess.
One way to really slow down a decision on a claim is to fail to supply the examiner with correct contact information for a treating physician or physicians. Put in the time necessary to get this information correct on your medical history up front, rather than delaying your case for several months down the road as your disability examiner attempts to locate your records. However, even after a disability examiner has made a decision on a claim, there are other steps that must be taken within DDS before the examiner’s decision is finalized.
First, the doctor assigned to the examiner’s unit will review the claimant’s medical records and either agree or disagree with the decision. Typically the opinion of the doctor (or psychologist if the claim is based on a mental impairment) will carry more weight than that of the examiner. After the unit doctor has reviewed the examiner’s decision, it then goes to the unit supervisor (case consultant), who also gets a chance to either agree or disagree with the examiner’s findings. Under the best of circumstances everyone within DDS agrees on the decision, and it becomes final.
However, in some cases there is yet another hurdle a claim must pass before a decision is sent out to the individual seeking disability. This is known as the “quality control” review. If a claim is randomly selected for such a review, it could take many more weeks before it is cleared, sent back to the Social Security office, and ultimately mailed out to the claimant. No wonder it takes so long to receive a decision from Social Security! For those whose initial application and first appeal were denied by DDS, there is yet another lengthy wait before a final decision is reached on their claim, provided they file a second appeal – that is, a request for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge (ALJ). The upside of the disability hearing is that the ALJ can act much more independently than the examiner, without an entire unit looking over his shoulder and second guessing his opinion. The downside is that it can take anywhere from 1 to 2 years to get a disability hearing on the judge’s calendar, simply because there are currently so many disability cases filed each year.
One thing to keep in mind about the Social Security Decision – if you stay the course and follow your claim through to the second level of appeal, you are more likely to be awarded disability benefits. ALJs typically overturn more than half of all claims previously denied by DDS, and the rate of approval increases even further when the claimant is represented at his hearing by a disability attorney.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Call 865-691-2777 in Knoxville or East Tennessee to set up an initial consultation to discuss your widow or widower’s Social Security Disability case, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM for more information about our practice. With our contingency fee arrangement, you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our office is conveniently located in Knoxville with plenty of free parking available.
SSD BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS
If your child has a disability, he or she may be entitled to disability benefits from Social Security. The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto help families obtain disability benefits for children younger than 18 and for adult children.
What Is Social Security Disability?
The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits through two programs: The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) program The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. A child younger than age 18 can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if he or she meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children. Your child’s income and resources must also fall within the eligibility limits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) pays benefits to adults who have a disability that began before they became 22 years old. Even if your adult child has not worked long enough to qualify for Social Security Disability, the Social Security Administration may provide benefits based on a parent’s Social Security earnings if specific conditions are met.
For a disabled adult to receive a SSD or SSDI benefit, one or both parents: must be receiving benefits from Social Security (either retirement or disability benefits), or must have died after having worked long enough to qualify for Social Security. Our attorneys are experienced and committed to helping our clients receive the benefits they need and deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Call 865-691-2777 in Knoxville or East Tennessee to set up an initial consultation to discuss your SSD Benefits for Children and Adults case, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM for more information about our practice. With our contingency fee arrangement, you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our office is conveniently located in Knoxville with plenty of free parking available.
It can be a disheartening and even terrifying moment when you realize that a driver who has caused thousands and thousands of dollars in personal injury expenses and property damage does not have enough insurance, or even any insurance, to cover those costs and expenses. Despite the law, many of the drivers in Tennessee have no insurance at all, and even those that meet the bare minimum of $25,000 of coverage, are not equipped to deal with a serious accident.
Since medical expenses alone following a major injury from a car wreck can total tens, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars, the risk of encountering an underinsured motorist is great. The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto work with people who have been injured in a car, truck, motorcycle or other motor vehicle accident to recover the full and fair compensation they are entitled to receive.
Often when you suffer a personal injury as a result of an uninsured driver, you may be forced to deal with your own insurance company to get a proper recovery. Too frequently, this means that the company that has promised to be there when you need it most and to which you have paid countless dollars in premiums becomes a roadblock in getting a monetary recovery and perhaps even proper treatment. The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto have helped thousands of people understand how to work with their insurance company following an injury-related accident. We guide you through the process of recovering needed compensation, or we take over as your advocate to deal directly with your insurer.
It is important to understand that being struck by an uninsured or underinsured motorist does not mean you will not get the money you need to pay for hospital bills or lost time from work. We educate, inform and counsel clients on the options available, and we can help you find avenues toward recovery.
Call 865-691-2777 in Knoxville or East Tennessee to set up an initial consultation to discuss your underinsured or uninsured automobile accident case, or reach us through our CONVENIENT FORM for more information about our practice.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY?
Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a benefit program for people with low income and limited resources. Children with disabilities can also qualify for SSI benefits. Unlike Social Security Disability, there is no work history requirement and the applicant does not have to have paid into Social Security. The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto help people throughout Tennessee who have been turned down for SSI benefits. Our attorneys are experienced and committed to helping our clients receive the disability compensation they deserve. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss SSI eligibility and answer your questions.
What Benefits Does SSI Provide?
SSI provides money to provide clothing, food and shelter. Your SSI benefits can fluctuate from month to month, based on changes in your life. For example, if you work part-time, that income will be counted. If you move in with someone, that person’s income will be counted as your income. SSI recipients are also eligible for Medicaid.
How Do I apply for Supplemental Security Income?
You apply for SSI benefits by completing a claim form and submitting the necessary medical records at your local Social Security Administration office. Unfortunately, most applicants are initially turned down by Social Security. It often takes a lawyer’s help to obtain the benefits you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Call 865-691-2777 in Knoxville or East Tennessee to set up an initial consultation to discuss your SSI benefits case, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM for more information about our practice. With our contingency fee arrangement, you pay no attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our office is conveniently located in Knoxville with plenty of free parking available.