Attorneys Helping Clients with Social Security Disability Claims for More Than 25 Years
Knowledgeable counsel for SSDI appeals in Monterey, Salinas, Santa Cruz and Watsonville
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an important thread in the safety net that protects American workers. While workers’ compensation protects against work-related accidents and illnesses, SSDI protects against any long-term condition that substantially affects your ability to work. However, accessing SSDI benefits is not easy; statistics show that as many as two-thirds of initial applications are denied. Fortunately, the knowledgeable benefits attorneys at Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna can help you appeal an SSDI denial and get the benefits you deserve. When you come to our office for a free initial consultation, we examine your case to determine the extent of your eligibility, including whether members of your family qualify to receive benefits. Then we work tirelessly to get you approved.
Who qualifies for SSDI benefits?
SSDI is a federal government insurance system administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that workers pay into with deductions from their paychecks. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must demonstrate each of these elements:
- A medical condition that fits the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability — This means a. you cannot work as you did before, b. your medical condition prevents you from adjusting to new work, and c. your disability has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or prove fatal.
- You have worked long enough — You have earned enough work credits based on your yearly income. The maximum number of work credits you can earn in a given year is four. Generally, a worker needs 40 work credits to qualify.
- You have worked recently enough — You must have earned 20 work credits in the last 10 years prior to becoming disabled.
An application that proves each of these elements should be approved, but very often the SSA rejects claims from legitimately disabled applicants because the information on the forms does not meet the agency’s standards.
Applying for SSDI benefits
You can apply for SSDI benefits as soon as you suffer the disability-causing incident. In fact, the sooner you apply, the better, since SSDI applications can take several months to process. If your application is denied, a knowledgeable attorney at Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna can help you file an appeal.
Guiding you through the SSDI appeals process
If the SSA denies your SSDI application, you still have options through the appeals process. But you must act quickly, because the law requires you to file an appeal within 60 days of receiving your decision letter. Generally, there are four levels to the appeal process:
- Reconsideration —You can present new evidence and have another reviewer at the SSA read your application.
- Hearing before an administrative law judge — The hearing takes place within 75 miles of your home. An administrative law judge who has no prior connection to your claim presides. You can present new evidence and even call witnesses.
- Review by the Appeals Council — When the Appeals Council reviews a case, there are three possible outcomes: the Council approves your claim, the Council denies your claim, or the Council returns your case to the administrative law judge with guidance for reconsideration.
- Federal Court review — If your claim is still not approved, you can file a lawsuit in federal court.
Most denials occur because claims lack medical evidence or use imprecise language describing the disabling condition. Our in-depth understanding of the SSA’s standards for acceptance gives you the best possible chance of success. We consult with your treating physician and other qualified medical experts to strengthen your case. Our extensive experience with all aspects of SSDI appeals at every level gives you the best possible chance of successfully obtaining benefits.
Contact our determined SSDI attorneys serving Salinas, Watsonville, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, CA
If the Social Security Administration has denied your disability claim, the experienced attorneys with Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna can help you appeal that ruling and get the benefits you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your SSDI claim, call us at 831-443-1051 or contact us online. Time is of the essence, because SSDI has strict, short deadlines. Act today. For the convenience of our clients, we offer same-day appointments and services in Spanish.