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Social Security Law

West Virginia Social Security Disability Lawyer

West Virginia social security disability lawyer discusses WV Social Security LawThe Social Security Disability system can be difficult and unfair. Too often, good people with deserving Social Security Disability (SSDI and SSI) claims are denied the benefits they have worked so long and hard for. West Law Offices is a full service Social Security disability law firm devoted to helping people with disabilities get the benefits they need and deserve.  We will help you apply for disability benefits and  appeal your claim if you it has been denied.

  • Call West Law Offices toll free 1-877-943-9378 for a free review of your claim.
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  • Get help with applying for disability benefits or filing and winning an appeal.

Why Hire a WV Disability Lawyer?

The sooner a disability lawyer gets involved with your claim, the better chance you have to win social security benefits. Hiring an experienced West Virginia social security attorney can greatly improve your chances of winning your claim. Your disability benefits depends on when you file a claim.  For example, if your claim is granted, the dollar amount of your social security award will be calculated from the date you filed.  A social security lawyer can help you expedite the filing of your claim.

What are Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) are a wage-replacement income for those that have previously worked but are no longer able to due to one or more medical impairments. Having supporting evidence, such as medical records, to document your disability and impairments is critical to your case. Eligibility for benefits is determined by a complex set of factors and, often, successful claims are based on multiple disabilities.

What are Supplemental Security Income Benefits?

Supplemental Security Income also known as SSI is a disability benefits program designed to help those with little or no income regardless of whether they have ever worked or not. The purpose of SSI is to help the aged, blind and other disabled people by providing them monthly income for their basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter.

Medical Impairments that may Qualify You for Social Security Disability

There are many medical impairments that may qualify a person for Social Security Disability benefits.  In fact, successful claims are often based on more than one impairment. The Social Security Administration is constantly updating the conditions required to receive SSDI and SSI Disability benefits. West Law Offices team of disability experts knows how medical impairments, symptoms, vocational experts, and doctor’s notes help build your disability case. We will provide you examples of what type of questions and documentation you will need to obtain from your doctor to win your social security disability claim. Medical impairments that may entitle you to disability benefits include bipolar disorder, breast cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), back pain, cardiac obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Crohns disease, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), chronic depression, diabetes, neuropathy, retinopathy, kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, MS (multiple sclerosis), Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia.

WV Social Security Article of the Week

Social Security Disability Benefits – Part II

How does the claimant apply for benefits?  Is there any way to apply other than going to a local SSA office and waiting for hours?  What proof will I need in order to apply?

 

There are several ways that a claimant may apply only one of which is going to a local Social Security Office, waiting to see a claims representative, and making application in person.  It typically takes about 1½ hours to complete a disability application in person, provided the claimant has all the information needed with them.  The claimant may also apply online.  The claimant may wish to contact an advocate, social security attorney or lawyer, a trusted friend or non-attorney representative, or a relative to help them apply.

Many times applications can be take over the telephone by the social security administration and proof documents can be mailed in.  Although this option is intended to provide convenience to the claimant, wait times are generally very long and original documents must be mailed in.  Most people are not comfortable mailing their driver’s license, passports, or state issued ID’s.  As a matter of policy, the Social Security Administration must see original documents for proofs submitted.

The needed information would include proof of identity – a driver’s license or state issued ID card that is unexpired will prove identity.  Proof of age – a birth certificate with a raised seal/original stamp and signature may be helpful.  The claimant should also know his or her social security number.  The names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of spouses and minor children will also be needed for the application.

Bank information, such as a checkbook or deposit slip will be helpful in setting up direct deposit for benefits, if the claimant has a bank account.  Social Security will stop issuing paper checks in the near future.

The social security claimant should have W2’s or tax returns for the past five years and be able to explain the type of work performed at the positions held during that period of time.  The Social Security Administration has wage information which is provided by the IRS each year when persons file income tax returns.  Sometimes these records are not complete; especially if there have been multiple employers.  W2’s and tax returns allow them to add any missing wages in order to accurately figure the amount of the benefits.

If the claimant served in the military, their DD-214 would provide the necessary information to add military service if that information is not already in the claimant’s social security record.  Adding the military service may not change the benefit amount at all, but the record should be as complete and accurate as possible.

The claimant should also be able to provide the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all the doctors, clinics, or hospitals that have provided medical advice or treatment.  Even if the claimant doesn’t feel that the treatment is directly related to the condition which they believe has cause the disability, bring all the information on hand.  Any test results are helpful but not mandatory.  They can be obtained directly from the service provider.

Last, but not least, the claimant for social security disability benefits should have a list of all the medications (prescriptions, supplements, vitamins, etc) taken.  The list should contain the name of the medication, the doctor or organization prescribing or recommending the medication or supplement, the dosage amount and frequency.)  The claimant should also include what the medication is for.

Providing the proofs seems more difficult than it is.  Most people keep a list of medications, that list may just need to be modified.  If tests and test results aren’t readily available, do not worry about getting them before filing for social security disability benefits.  The filing process, and the reason for compiling the information, consists of completing an application, completing a disability report, and signing releases that allow doctors to submit tests and results to be considered for disability.

Social Security’s disability report takes the longest to complete and can often take more than an hour, depending upon the nature of the disability, the length of the explanation (how does this effect your work?), and the number of healthcare providers and medications.  This report should be completed fully and accurately.

Once the application for social security disability is completed, what takes so long?  Who makes the decision?

 

The Social Security Administration will review the application and check to see that basic requirements are met.  For example, to be disabled you must not be able to participate in SGA (substantial gainful activity – i.e. to work and earn $1000 or more per month).  If the claimant is still working and earning more than $1000 per month, and there has been no substantial change in the workplace routing, the claimant could not be considered disabled.

If basic requirements are met, the application for social security disability is then sent to a state agency called Disability Determination Services, or DDS.  This a state agency that receives funding from the federal government.

A DDS agency will typically have staff physicians and other medical professionals as well as disability examiners.  DDS will use the medical release forms signed by the client to request medical records from the doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc., that have given medical advice or treatment to the claimant.  Once the medical records have been requested, many times requested more that once, there may be a substantial period of time before the records are received.

Once the DDS has received and reviewed the medical history, they will make a decision about the case.  Often times, DDS will even contact the claimant directly if a clarification about a particular issue is needed.

A good example may be a construction worker that has worked for the same company for many years.  Let’s assume that he arthritis and has been unable to do his job.  Let’s also assume that his employer has compassion on him and allows him to come to work but not participate in his usual activities so that he can keep his medical coverage.  In that case, even though still employed, it is possible that the construction worker could be found disabled since the employer had to provide special conditions to allow him to continue.

Do I need a West Virginia lawyer?  How much does a Social Security Attorney charge?  What if I can’t afford to hire an attorney?

 

The Social Security Administration will not tell a claimant to hire an attorney.  That decision is completely up to the claimant.  An attorney can be very helpful when filing for benefits.

Social Security claims representatives go through months and months of intense training.  The regulations and guidelines are modified and changed on a seemingly continual basis.  The number of guidelines and the amount of regulations, the scope of policy, and continual changes are too much for the average person to keep up with.  Claims representatives routinely make mistakes that need to be corrected, and they deal with these cases day in and day out.

The tremendous workload on Social Security workers adds to possibility of errors on the application or disability report.  If an SSA worker only makes one mistake on one case each month, that would be considered very accurate work to everyone except the person on whose account the mistake was made.  For this reason alone, it may be beneficial for an individual to consult with a lawyer knowledgeable in Social Security regulations that can be an advocate for them.  West Law Offices and provide this service.

Lawyers in West Virginia and beyond cannot negotiate fee agreements with their clients when it comes to Social Security.  The fee guidelines are set by the SSA.  Since June 2009, an attorney will be paid the LESSER OF 25% of the back pay due the claimant or $6000.  If, when a claimant is determined to be disabled, the claimant is due $30,000 in back pay, the attorney can still only collect $6000 because $6000 is less than 25% of the back pay, which amounts to $7,500.

The Social Security Administration has specific forms for client/attorney fee agreements, so the claimant need not be overly concerned about the wording of the agreement.  It will be exactly the same for all attorneys.  The claimant should, however, choose someone in whom they have confidence and with whom they can communicate.

When a favorable ruling has been made, the Social Security Administration distributes payment to the attorney out of the total proceeds, and also pays the claimant.  This insures the claimant and the attorney that the fees will be paid accurately and timely – hopefully.  In the event payment is delayed, your attorney will not be paid until any issue with the amounts are resolved.  This provided assurance to the applicant that the attorney

If you have been denied social security benefits in West Virginia and need to appeal for disability benefits, or if you want to apply for Social Security Disability, we can help. Contact West Law Firm for a free consultation with a West Virginia personal injury lawyer West Law Offices social security lawyer toll free at 1-877-943-9378 for a free consultation.  We are located in Charleston, West Virginia and we proudly serve Beckley, Logan, Parkersburg and all of West Virginia.  If you can’t come to us, West Virginia’s social security disability lawyer will come to you.

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