Disability Questions

The following are a few of the more common questions our clients often have early in the process. For more detailed answers to these or other questions, please contact us at 615-312-8235.

What are the stages of the Disability and Supplemental Security (SSI) benefit application process? 

The first step is the initial application process.  During this process, most of my clients opt to apply initially for benefits without the use of a lawyer in hopes they receive benefits.  To initially apply for benefits, Claimants usually visit their local Social Security Office and fill out the applicable forms.  Claimants may choose to apply for benefits by calling the Social Security telephone number of 1-800-772-1213 and in some instances Claimants choose to apply for benefits on-line at: http://www.ssa.gov.  In the event you are initially denied benefits, a denial decision letter will be sent to the Claimant.  The majority of my clients begin representation at this level, having me perform the appeal.  The second level is referred to as “reconsideration”.  In the event you are denied at the reconsideration (second) level, the case is appealed, and placed at the Administrative Law Judge (third) level.  At this level, a hearing will be held and an Administrative Law Judge will decide the merits of your disability case.  I am experienced in the hearing process and, in some instances, benefits are received prior to a hearing.  Each case and individual is different, and that is how you are treated at the Law Office of Tara A. Davis.  It is our pleasure to aggressively advocate and compassionately care for YOU throughout each phase.  In the event the case is denied at the Administrative Law Judge hearing level, the appeal is processed through the federal court system.

How are Attorney fees paid in a disability and/or SSI claim?

An Attorney fee is only paid if my client receives benefits.

How does the Social Security Administration decide if I am entitled to Disability benefits?

In order to receive disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will review your earning record.   Generally, it means that you must have worked the last five out of the last ten years to be considered fully vested to receive disability benefits.  In order to be classified as disabled, the Claimant must not be able to perform substantially gainful activity.  In order to make this determination, the judge will review the claimants’ medical records, ability to perform past relevant work, job skills, education, work experience, physical limitations, mental limitations, transferability of job skills, any other pertinent factors deemed appropriate, and all other applicable available jobs that the Claimant may/may not be able to perform.  Once disability is awarded, a monthly check will be sent to the Claimant, along with any applicable back pay for the disabled time period prior to the hearing.  Insurance is also awarded after the disability time period is met and either paid by the Claimant in monthly premiums or awarded to the Claimant at no cost, based upon income and resource information.

How does the Social Security Administration decide if am entitled to Supplemental Security (SSI) benefits?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program generally available for individuals that have not worked or do not meet the legal requirements for disability.  There are instances when a Claimant will be entitled to both Disability and SSI benefits, if the financial requirements are met.  You will be entitled to Supplement Security benefits if your household income and resources are less than a given amount, which changes periodically based upon governmental financial resource guidelines.