Social Security

Benefits Denied? Don’t Give Up!

65% of Social Security applicants are denied the first time they apply!

If you need help with your Social Security Disability case, you don’t need to call some out-of-state cable lawyer you’ll never meet in person! Al Sturgeon Law Office in Sioux City has been helping people get their Social Security Disability benefits for over 25 years. Compassionate, experienced and effective representation just minutes away!

Who Can Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

Disability benefits are for people who cannot work on a full-time basis because of medical or emotional conditions that will last one year or more or that will result in death. Certain family members of disabled workers can also get benefits, including spouses or unmarried children, depending on the situation.

What Information Will Your Lawyer Need to Know?

Some people are surprised to find that talking to an attorney on the phone is actually a pleasant experience. Remember, any discussions that you have with the lawyer or the lawyer staff is kept in strict confidence. There is no charge or fee for the phone conversation or the initial discussion and you are under no obligation whatsoever. Your lawyer will want to know the following:

  • What is the nature of your illness or physical impairment?
  • What kind of work have you done in the past?
  • What is your education level?
  • When is the last time you worked, if ever?
  • Have you already filed for Social Security?
  • Have you been denied Social Security benefits?

Bring your important medical records in. This will help us better review your case. During your initial phone consultation it is important to be honest about your condition. Things like obesity, illiteracy, and little education are things that can help to prove you are disabled.

Social Security Hearings

If you have filed for reconsideration and have been denied, then you may file for a hearing before an administrative law judge (also referred to as an ALJ). The ALJ is someone who has previously played no role in deciding whether you’re disabled, so in effect, you get a fresh shot at presenting your disability claim. The ALJ is given the authority to decide on his own whether or not you are truly disabled.

You have 60 days to request a hearing once you’ve been notified that your claim was previously denied.

About the Social Security Disability Hearing

Although your job at the hearing is to prove that you are disabled, there will be no defense attorney or other government worker at the hearing who will try to prove that you’re not disabled. For that reason, the hearing is considered non-adversarial, although the judge is allowed to ask you any question he/she wants about you and your life.

The hearing typically lasts about one hour and we’ll make sure you are well prepared.

Who Will Be Present at the Social Security Disability Hearing?

There may be several persons in attendance at the hearing. In addition to the ALJ, there usually is a vocational expert present to help the judge know what kinds of jobs you’re able to perform. There may also be a medical expert present.

Your attorney will be there with you to talk on your behalf, to help you know how to answer certain questions truthfully in such a way that it will increase your changes of winning. Your attorney will also be able to point out facts and situations to the judge that are often buried in the mass of paperwork that usually goes along with the Social Security disability file.

If you’re scheduled for a Social Security hearing, or if you’ve been denied benefits and need to request a hearing before an administrative law judge, then it is important to talk to the Al Sturgeon Law Firm as soon as possible!

What’s the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

While both of these programs fall under the category of “Social Security Disability,” it is important to note the differences between the two.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a federally managed program that is designed to provide income replacement benefits in the event a worker becomes disabled and can no longer earn a living.

SSDI is available to those workers who have paid into the system throughout their working lives. They have contributed to federal payroll withholdings or (in the event they are self-employed) they have paid into the Social Security fund directly. The amount of benefits that the claimant receive will be based on the amount that was paid into the system over the years.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

When a person is disabled and has little or not income whatsoever, then that person may be entitled to SSI to help provide for the basic life needs (food, shelter and clothing). SSI is (in effect) a welfare benefits program designed to prevent those who are disabled and less fortunate from being without those basic needs.

In many states, those who receive SSI benefits can also receive Medicaid to help with medical expenses and other healthcare costs.

How Much will my Disability Benefits be?

The disability benefits you will receive are based on your average lifetime earnings. This amount is listed in annual Social Security statements that you may have received. Your local Social Security Office can tell you your exact monthly benefit.

If You’ve Been Denied Benefits, Don’t Delay!

You have a limited amount of time to file for an appeal. There are also many things to discuss and consider before filing for reconsideration or for a hearing.

If your claim has been denied, call and talk to a lawyer right away. Important time deadlines are in place and it takes time to gather additional medical records and schedule medical appointments, SO DON’T DELAY!