If a person suffers from disability, medical or psychological problems, he or she has the right to seek SSDI/SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration makes it very difficult and denies more than half the claims filed. Many people file a claim and are anxiously waiting for their benefits only to get a denial letter.
The criteria the agency employs to determine eligibility for SSDI/SSI benefits is extremely strict and submitting an application is difficult. You will be required to present full documentation to support your need for benefits and any minor error or omission in your application will lead to a denial or a long delay. You simply cannot take chances when you are suffering from a disability.
Like thousands of people in West Virginia, you may suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents you from being able to work. You should strongly consider applying for Social Security disability benefits. These monthly payments could make a major difference in your life.
If you already applied for benefits, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your claim, do not give up. You should keep fighting and pursue an appeal – with assistance from an experienced disability benefits lawyer.
Whether you want to file your initial application or appeal a denied claim, the attorneys of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, can help you. We will bring more than 35 years of combined legal experience to your case and provide the skilled and compassionate representation you need during this tough time.
We work with Social Security disability claimants in Charleston and throughout West Virginia. We can provide a free consultation. You will also pay nothing for our services unless we obtain the benefits you rightfully deserve. We can get to work on your case today.
As you move ahead with your Social Security disability benefits application or your appeal, you need to ask yourself, “Do I really have a qualifying disability?” We can carefully review your case and help you to find that answer.
Keep in mind: The SSA narrowly defines “disability.” To be eligible for benefits, your condition needs to meet this definition. Specifically, you must meet three conditions:
Your condition must be diagnosed or capable of being diagnosed. Your medical records, including clinical or lab test findings, can serve as evidence.
In other words, your physical or mental impairment must be a total and permanent disability. Even though a partial or temporary disability can disrupt your life, it would not meet the SSA’s definition of a qualifying disability.
You cannot earn monthly income that exceeds a specific amount. The SSA adjusts this “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) cap every year. In 2017, it is set at:
Your pay stubs and W2 forms can serve as evidence that your income falls below this level.
If the SSA denied your claim, it may have been because you simply failed to provide the evidence which a reviewer needed to decide your case. We can help you to gather and present that evidence in your appeal.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we never follow a “one size fits all” approach. We will examine the unique facts in your case and determine the type of benefits you should pursue. We will also explore benefits that may be available to your family members.
Generally speaking, the types of benefits we seek for clients fall within two categories:
You can qualify for these benefits if you are younger than age 65, you have a condition that meets the SSA’s definition of a “disability” and you have earned enough “work credits.” Your spouse and children may be eligible to receive these benefits as well based on your work record. The spouse, child or, in some cases, the parent of a deceased worker may be eligible for survivor benefits.
These benefits are based on your need – not your work credits. You may be eligible for SSI if you are age 65 or older, blind or suffer from a qualifying “disability,” regardless of your age. Additionally, you must have a limited income and limited resources. (The SSA adjusts those threshold amounts every year.)
We know the important role these benefits can play in your life. Our goal will always be to maximize the amount you receive in benefits.
When you apply for SSDI or SSI benefits, you must provide complete, accurate and up-to-date personal, medical and employment information. By carefully preparing your application, you will greatly improve your chances of getting your SSDI or SSI benefits claim approved at the initial stage.
However, if the SSA denies your claim, do not give up. We can help you to pursue your claim through one or more levels of appeal – whatever it takes.
The process starts with a review of the Notice of Disapproved Claim that you received in the mail. The letter should state the reasons why your claim was denied.
For instance, the claims examiner at the West Virginia Disability Determination Services (DDS) who reviewed your case may have found that, based on your medical evidence, you could still engage in substantial gainful activity despite your physical or mental condition.
You will have 60 days from the date on that notice to file a request for reconsideration. At this level of appeal, you will ask for your case to be reviewed by a different DDS claims examiner. You can submit more evidence to support your claim.
If your claim is denied, again, you will have 60 days from the denial date in which to file a request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. At this hearing, you can present additional evidence, including testimony from medical and/or vocational experts. The hearing could be held in person at the nearest Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) or by video.
The next level of appeal would be to request review of your case by the SSA Appeals Council and, if necessary, to file a complaint in the nearest U.S. District Court.
When you work with the disability lawyers at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, you can expect our legal team to provide a wide range of services to you. For instance, we can:
We understand how important Social Security disability benefits are for your survival. You can trust us to work hard for you and pursue the maximum amount for you.
Our firm takes on SSDI/SSI cases in Charleston and throughout West Virginia. Call today and talk with us about your case. We can get to work today on seeking the benefits you and your family deserve.