Being disabled and unable to work and make a living can cause extreme anxiety. Perhaps you have decided to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, yet when you look at the online application it seems overwhelming. Having a highly experienced Knoxville disability lawyer from Carmichael Law Group can truly make a difference in your SSD application process as well as the outcome of that process.
An attorney from Carmichael Law Group can help you with your initial application, giving you the best chance of early success. We can also step in during the appeals process, aggressively pointing out errors in prior denials. Our many years of experience representing SSD claimants at every level will give you hope for your future.
Information on this page:
What Are the Qualifying Conditions for Social Security Disability Benefits?
While every case is unique, the online Disability Evaluation Under Social Security describes physical and mental conditions that may qualify you for SSD benefits. These disabilities are split between those for adults and those for children, then further split into fourteen categories for adults and fifteen for children. Remember—just because your disorder or condition falls under one of the categories, you are not automatically qualified. Your disability must have prevented you from working for at least a year (or will prevent you from working for at least a year), or it must be expected to result in death. You must also have worked enough time while paying SS taxes to qualify and you must have limited resources.
The online disorder listings are not to be confused with the Compassionate Allowances program. Under Compassionate Allowances, you must have an extremely serious condition—like certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders affecting children. The Compassionate Allowances program allows a reduction in waiting time for a determination from Social Security regarding your benefits. The same rules are used to evaluate a Compassionate Allowance application as for a “normal” SSD application, however, technology is used to identify Compassionate Allowance cases and then make a quick decision.
What Is the Process for Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits?
When you have decided to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important that you have all the information and documentation necessary before you begin your application. You can apply online, over the phone, or in person at your local SS field office. Some of the documents you will need include:
- Pay stubs and other workplace documentation and information, including tax returns for two years
- Your birth certificate or other proof of birth
- S. citizenship proof (or lawful alien status) if you were not born in the United States
- Military discharge papers if you were in the military prior to 1968
- Self-employment records and tax returns for two years
- Medical documentation of your disability, including test results, medical records, doctor’s reports, and prescription drug medications you take for your condition
- An Adult Disability Report that will go into much more detail regarding your medical condition as well as your work history.
- Proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation benefits
Photocopies are acceptable for W-2s, tax returns, and medical documentation, but you must have your original birth certificate and proof of citizenship. Once you have submitted your application, you may be asked for additional information. You will receive a letter that either approves or denies your application for benefits. If your application for benefits was denied, you have only 60 days to ask for Reconsideration. If your Reconsideration is denied you have three more levels of appeal.
How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Once you submit your initial application, you may be waiting from 3-5 months for a decision. If your application is denied, you have sixty days to file for reconsideration. The reconsideration process usually takes from four to twelve weeks, depending on whether more information is requested.
It can take as long as nine months to get a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, then it can take up to two months to know the outcome of the hearing. The Appeals Council Review can take several months, as can the Federal Court Appeal. So, the entire process could potentially take two years or more if you have to go through all four appeals—or it could take much less time if you are approved at any of the earlier stages.
Do I Really Need a Knoxville Disability Lawyer?
If your initial SSD application is denied, hiring a Knoxville disability lawyer makes sense and can be the difference between winning your appeal and losing your appeal. Your disability lawyer can help you gather medical records and reports, make sure your file is complete, review prior actions taken by SSA, and provide solid advice on preparing for your ALJ hearing.
Your attorney will provide legal counsel at the hearing, ensuring a fair and proper procedure, while objecting to any questions as needed. If you are unsuccessful at the ALJ level, your attorney will request a review by the Appeals Council, and by the Federal District Court. Once your claim is approved, your Knoxville disability lawyer will ensure the benefit payments are correct.
How a Knoxville Disability Lawyer from the Carmichael Law Group Can Help
When you need assistance with your disability application or appeal, the Carmichael Law Group is ready to help you through this difficult time in the best way possible. We truly care about our clients and will fight aggressively for the benefits you need and deserve. Your consultation is free, and we only get paid if we win your case. Don’t face the disability process alone—contact the Carmichael Law Group today.
Knoxville Social Security Field Office
The Knoxville Tennessee Social Security Field Office located at 9031 Cross Park Drive, Knoxville, TN 37923 provides services to disabled claimants living in Union, Loudon, Sevier, and Blount Counties. The direct telephone number for the Knoxville Field Office is 1-866-331-9091 and the direct fax number is 1-833-597-0084.