In the United States, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies nearly 66% of all disability applications.
Although most people who apply for Arkansas disability benefits qualify, the SSA denies many applications more than once.
If this happens to you, contact an Arkansas Social Security disability lawyer at the Cottrell Law Office today.
Our disability lawyers in Arkansas help clients navigate the complicated disability application process and strive to obtain the benefits they deserve.
Why Work With a Rogers, AR Social Security Disability Lawyer?
By hiring a lawyer, you are more likely to be approved for benefits. Social Security disability attorneys in Arkansas know the ins and outs of the SSA’s disability benefits. At Cottrell Law Office, our experienced Arkansas disability lawyers will help you every step of the way, from filing your initial application to appealing a denial. We know how to present your case favorably in order to prove your disability.
When applying for social security disability in Rogers, Arkansas, there are several strict requirements you must meet to be eligible for benefits. In many cases, you must prove that your disability prevents you from working and that you have financial need.
The application process for Social Security disability can be arduous and confusing. By working with a Rogers Social Security disability attorney, you will be guided through the application process and feel confident knowing your best case is being presented.
The average time to process an application in Arkansas is one year. If you are disabled and unable to work, you should contact an Arkansas disability attorney immediately to start your application.
If the SSA denies your application, the Social Security disability attorneys at the Cottrell Law Office can also represent you at an appeal hearing.
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Arkansas Disability Benefits
There are two different types of disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration: Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI).
While they might seem similar at first, it is important to know the differences so you choose the correct application. The Cottrell Law Office can assist you with understanding the specific details and requirements of SSDI and SSI.
Qualifying for Arkansas SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI, provides benefits to workers who suffer from a disability during their careers.
The applicant must prove that their disability prevents them from doing the same work as before.
Qualifying conditions and disabilities include, but are not limited to:
- Bipolar disorder,
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),
- Multiple sclerosis,
- Spinal injuries,
- Hearing/Vision loss,
- Cancer, and
- Chronic fatigue.
There are also other requirements the applicant must meet. For example, you must have sufficient work credits and have paid Social Security taxes before suffering from the disability.
Qualifying for AR SSI: Supplemental Security Income
SSI is a federal program intended for elderly (aged 65+), blind, and disabled individuals with limited income and resources. SSI provides money for basic needs like clothing, shelter, and food.
The SSA considers any of the following to be income:
- Money earned from employment;
- Money received from other sources, such as workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, monetary gifts from friends or relatives, etc.; and
- Food and shelter provided for free.
The SSA considers resources to be:
- Bank accounts,
- Life insurance, and
- Anything that can reasonably be sold for cash.
In contrast with SSDI, SSI is primarily need-based and applies to non-workers and retirees.
How to Apply for Arkansas SSDI and SSI
The SSA allows for online, in-person, and over-the-phone applications for SSDI and SSI. In addition to basic personal information, your application must include detailed records of your medical care related to your disability and prior work.
Whether you apply for AR SDDI or AR SSI, you must prove that you have a qualifying disability.
Gathering all your records can be overwhelming, but an experienced disability attorney in Arkansas can help organize and review your documents. The Cottrell Law Office will ensure that your final application is complete and presents your case in the most favorable light.
Once you file an initial application for benefits, the SSA reviews your qualifications using the following five-step process:
1. Are You Working?
If you are employed and receiving income above a certain amount, you will not qualify for disability benefits. The threshold amount varies each year.
2. Is Your Medical Condition “Severe”?
The SSA’s standard for a “severe” medical condition is one that significantly limits your ability to perform basic work functions, such as lifting, carrying, or standing, for at least 12 months. If you are able to complete these types of tasks, you will not qualify.
3. Does Your Condition Meet or Medically Equal a Listing?
The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that they consider so severe as to prohibit the individual from doing meaningful work. If your condition meets or is medically equivalent (as determined by a doctor) to one of the listed conditions, you will qualify for disability benefits. If not, the SSA proceeds to the next question to evaluate your disability.
4. Can You Do the Work You Did Before?
If you are able to complete the type of work you did previously, you are not considered disabled.
5. Can You Do Any Other Type of Work?
If you can do other types of work, you will not qualify for disability benefits. In conducting this evaluation, the SSA considers your age, skills, education, and prior work experience.
This review usually takes 3 to 5 months.
What to Do If the SSA Denies Your Claim
If the SSA denies your claim, don’t panic—contact a Social Security disability lawyer in Arkansas.
On average, the SSA approves only 21% of initial applications.
When you receive a denial of your SSDI or SSI claim, it is important to understand why. The SSA denies claims for either medical or technical reasons. An Arkansas disability attorney can help explain your denial and prepare you for appealing the decision.
First Appeal: Reconsideration
If the SSA denies your initial application, you have 60 days to submit an appeal.
At this stage, another committee within the same office reviews your application again, considering everything you initially submitted and any new evidence.
The average appeal takes 3 to 6 months to review.
On average, the Social Security Administration denies 9 out of 10 reconsideration appeals.
Second Appeal: Request a Hearing
If the SSA denies your request for reconsideration, you are entitled to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) to reevaluate your denial. At the hearing, the judge will question you, and you may bring witnesses to testify about your condition.
According to Disability Judges, the average wait time for an Arkansas disability hearing is 9.5 months, and only 43% of cases are approved.
During this stage, it is especially important to consult with an experienced disability lawyer in Arkansas. Your lawyer can help develop your case by obtaining more information about your condition, gathering expert witnesses, including medical experts, and preparing you to answer the judge’s questions about your disability.
Third Appeal: Appeals Council Review
You have the option to ask for a review of your denied claim by the Social Security’s Appeals Council. If they find that the outcome of the hearing with the ALJ was correct, your claim will be denied again. Alternatively, the Appeals Council could review your claim itself or order that the ALJ review it again.
Fourth Appeal: File Lawsuit in Federal District Court
If you are unsatisfied with the result from the Appeals Council review, you may file suit in a federal district court.
Our experienced Social Security disability attorneys at the Cottrell Law Office will guide you through every step of appealing your claim.
Other Factors That Could Affect Social Security Disability Benefits
Once you start receiving your SSDI or SSI benefits, you must notify the Social Security Administration of any significant changes.
These changes may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Gaining employment while receiving benefits;
- Receiving other types of disability benefits, such as workers’ compensation;
- Moving within the U.S. or outside of the U.S;
- Getting married, getting divorced, or having children;
- Being convicted of a crime;
- Having an outstanding warrant for your arrest for certain felonies; or
- Violating parole or probation;
If you receive disability benefits on behalf of a minor, the following factors could affect their benefits:
- Turning 18;
- Being convicted of a crime;
- Remaining in school past their 18th birthday;
- Dropping out of school or being suspended/expelled from school;
- Marrying; or
- Becoming disabled.
On occasion, the SSA will review your case to ensure you are still eligible to receive disability benefits.
Contact a Qualified Rogers, AR Disability Lawyer Today
If you or your loved one becomes disabled and unable to work, our team of experienced disability lawyers in Arkansas can help.
At Cottrell Law Office, we strive to get you or your family the financial support you need after an unexpected, debilitating injury.
Whether you want to apply for Social Security disability benefits or wish to appeal your denial, we can help you take the necessary steps.