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Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability

The law firm of Hunter and Beck is here to help our clients, throughout Louisiana, navigate the Social Security Disability (SSD) process. We are experienced lawyers with a history of obtaining positive results.

At Hunter and Beck, we know that SSD cases can produce more questions than answers. Don’t go through this process alone.

Frequently Asked Social Security Disability Questions

The primary reason for people to apply for disability benefits is to replace lost income when a disabling condition prevents them (or will prevent them) from working for 12 months or longer. In addition to monthly case disbursements, eligible individuals will also receive medical benefits so they can obtain the care they need. You should speak with your doctor and to determine whether or not you might qualify.

The Social Security Administration will consider several factors before approving or denying your SSD application. This includes a review of your work history to evaluate your contribution to the Social Security system and the length of time you were working. Assuming you meet the criteria under the “work history test,” you must then show you have a mental or physical condition that rules out full-time work, one which is expected to last more than 12 months or result in death. The SSA can also consider other factors such as your age and your education.

The Social Security Administration has a long list of medical conditions that are generally accepted as a disabling condition, making a person eligible for benefits under the SSD program. Many unlisted conditions, however, can also result in eligibility, so long as there is documented medical proof that the condition has rendered a person disabled. As a result, approval for SSD benefits is done on a case-by-case basis. In fact, often, a combination of medical issues can result in approval even when each condition, considered by itself, might result in a denial of coverage.

The simple answer to this question is to say the Social Security Administration has the final say over whether or not a person is disabled. In reality, however, it is a combination of many key players working together to determine whether or not you are disabled. These players include yourself, your doctor, your attorney and even administrative law judges should your case be appealed. For example, an applicant believing he or she is disabled and deserves benefits is the first, most important step in this determination.

Permanent Disability means that you are unable to work for a year or more. Many clients assume that this means they must wait a full year before they may apply for benefits. This thought could not be further from the truth. Many conditions, supported by medical opinion, can predictably last at least 12 months. As a result, it is possible to apply for and receive Social Security Disability benefits well before a year has passed.

There are three primary issues that you must demonstrate to the SSA to prove total disability. They include:

  1. Your disease prevents you from doing the same work as before you became afflicted
  2. You are unable to adjust to other forms of work due to your disease
  3. Your medical condition is expected to last at least a year or result in death

Working alongside an experienced attorney and your medical professional, you will have the support you need to obtain evidence needed to prove total disability.

The Social Security Administration will review several factors to determine the amount of benefits you could receive. These factors include your age, your work history and how much you paid in Social Security taxes throughout your life. Our attorneys will work hard to obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

More than 50 percent of initial applications are denied, even for those applicants who in fact qualify for benefits. Applicants must follow strict guidelines, file all necessary paperwork on time, and ensure their application is complete and accurate. Hiring an experienced attorney greatly improves your chance of being approved so you can begin receiving benefits as soon as possible.
You may work part time and still qualify for benefits so long as you are earning less than $1,040 a month. You are likely to be denied if you make more than this amount. It is possible for students to qualify for benefits, but it is important to have strong, convincing medical evidence to support your claim. The SSA may view strenuous course loads as evidence that your disability does not prevent you from working.
You should hire an experienced Louisiana Social Security Disability attorney as soon as you and your doctor agree that you are totally disabled. Your attorney will know what medical proof you need to be successful, as well as the administrative requirements for obtaining benefits. Help is still available if you tried to apply without attorney representation and were denied. A lawyer can help you through the appeals process, including asking for reconsideration or taking your claim before an administrative law judge.

There are several steps to the Social Security Disability appeals process, and they must be done in order, before you are permitted to advance to the next stage. They include:

  1. You may apply for reconsideration in most states, within 60 days of being denied. A new adjudicator, who was not involved in the original decision, will review old and new evidence before issuing a decision.
  2. If your reconsideration request results in a second denial, you then have 60 days to request a hearing with an administrative law judge. You will have the opportunity to present witnesses, including doctors or anyone else who can support your claim. The judge will then issue a written decision approving or denying your application.
  3. The next stage is to request an Appeals Council review. The appeals council has the ability to approve or deny a review request, meaning that it may choose to review your case, send it back to the administrative law judge or not review your case at all.
  4. The final stage in the appeals process is to take your case before a Federal Court judge.
Many rules apply when Social Security Disability benefits and health insurance interact. Different rules apply to different forms of insurance coverage such as Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance and private disability insurance. We are happy to review your specific situation and explain how these rules might affect your application.
The easiest way to prepare for a disability is to hire an experienced attorney who can educate you about the law that applies to your case. Hunter and Beck will work directly with your medical professionals to obtain updated medical records and statements to prove your eligibility. The hearings are informal but some rules do apply, such as testifying under oath. Often, the judge will bring in medical advisors and vocational experts to the hearings as witnesses.
Our attorneys have seen social workers play a critical role in disability cases. This role includes educating clients about programs that are available, referring clients to experienced medical professionals, as well as obtaining advocates who can help them obtain the benefits they need. Social Workers’ case notes and testimony are often important evidence to support a disability claim.
The Social Security Administration states that unmarried children may qualify for benefits up to age 18, or up to age 19 if they are full-time students.
Hunter and Beck are available to address any questions or concerns you might have during an initial consultation.

For a free evaluation of your SSD case, please call Hunter and Beck at
(318) 487-1997 to speak with an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney today.