Applying for Social Security Disability in Eugene, Oregon
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a complex process for filing for disability claim. If you are unable to work, you may be considering making an application for Social Security Disability. You may have many questions about the application process, the difficulties of getting approved, and whether there are any ways to improve your chances of success. A good place to start is by contacting a disability lawyer in Eugene, Oregon for information.
Do I Need an Attorney to Apply for Social Security Disability?
An attorney’s assistance with a Social Security Disability claim is not required but it is advantageous to have legal representation. With an attorney working on your disability case, you have a greater chance of filing a successful claim. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer is familiar with the requirements and knows how to prepare and present a disability claims case before the SSA.
There are many reasons for being denied Social Security Disability. Some are technical issues such as making too much money, not having enough work history, or your medical condition not being included in Social Security’s list of impairments.
Disability Benefits Help Statistics reports that 32.1% of disability claims in the United States were denied in the initial stage. In Oregon, 32.2% of disability claims were denied on the first round. In the first reconsideration stage, which requires the completion of a form and written reasons why the SSA should not have denied your original claim, the denial rates were 88.4% nationally and an 88.3% denial rate for Oregon.
Given the complexity of making an application for Social Security Disability and the discouraging approval rates, it may to your benefit to seek the help of a Social Security Disability lawyer. Hiring an attorney at the start of the application process is beneficial because they can advise you about the alleged onset date of the disability and determine whether your physical or emotional condition is on the Social Security list of impairments.
Who Determines Whether or Not Social Security Disability is granted?
There are three stages in which a determination of eligibility for Social Security disability benefits is made. The initial stage requires that a form be completed. The first reconsideration stage requires the completion of a second form and written reasons to challenge the denied claim, and the third stage is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
There are two locations in Oregon, Eugene and Portland, where the ALJs hear disability appeals. Twenty-five administrative law judges handle all of the disability cases in Oregon. Fourteen of those hear appeals in Eugene, ten in Portland, and one ALJ hears cases in both places. The ALJs have more leeway in the decision-making process.
Having a local SSD benefits and claims attorney makes it more likely that your claim will be approved because the attorney knows the ALJs and how they tend to rule on these cases. The attorney understands the different types of evidence that are preferred by the various ALJs and that may give you an advantage at your hearing.
An administrative law judge has more flexibility in the decision-making process than other SSA representatives. A local attorney who has experience with the Social Security claims and appeals process knows what circumstances to include in your claim and how to present your case at the hearing.
Hiring a local attorney means that you are able to meet with them to prepare your claim for the final round of hearings. When you are in the process of searching for a disability rights lawyer to handle your claim, it helps to meet or speak with a couple of attorneys to determine which one will be a good fit who can successfully represent you at the administrative law hearing.
Why Are Disability Benefits Denied?
One of the common reasons for your disability benefits application being denied is the lack of medical history regarding your condition. If you infrequently visited a doctor for your condition, it is likely that there is not much evidence to support the disabling effects of your condition. There are not enough records available to support your disability claim.
The SSA may send you to another doctor that does constructive medical evaluations (CME). The medical assessment is usually brief and does not provide enough information about your symptoms or physical limitations caused by your disability. If you refuse to have a CME, your claim could be denied.
Your disability may be denied if it is considered not severe enough or it is not expected to last more than 12 months. If the reason for your condition is related to your addiction to drugs or alcohol, your claim will likely be denied.
Disability may be denied if you do not have a long enough work history. Your work history confirms that you have paid into social security disability insurance through your payroll taxes for the required number of payments. You need to have a total number of 40 quarters of coverage to be eligible for benefits. The disability examiner looks at your work history to identify the types of work and jobs you have done in the past to see if there is some kind of work that you are able to do.
Your social security disability claim may be denied if you cannot be located or do not respond to communications from the SSA. Other reasons for denial are the refusal to cooperate with requests made by the SSA or being convicted of a crime.