California Lawyer Assists Clients Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits
Skilled attorney helps people in the Los Angeles area with initial filings and appeals
It is a common misconception that disability benefits are immediately available to you once you've become disabled and unable to work. Unfortunately, many people with severe disabilities have their initial claims denied, for a number of reasons, by the Social Security Administration. At C. J. Smith Law, I stand ready to assist people in the Los Angeles area and California who seek Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. I understand the complex requirements for eligibility in each federal program and can help you compile the paperwork you need for your initial filing or assist with an appeal if your application is denied.
Knowledgeable adviser explains SSD eligibility requirements
At C. J. Smith Law, I advise clients throughout California on the eligibility requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for Social Security Disability Insurance payments. To qualify, you must be able to meet certain criteria:
First, you must have worked for a certain amount of time during the years before you became disabled and paid Social Security taxes through payroll deductions. For candidates who meet this threshold, the dollar amount of your disability compensation depends in part on your history of earnings.
Second, your disability must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of "disability." According to the SSA, you qualify for SSDI only if:
- You cannot do the work you did before you became disabled.
- You cannot perform another job in your current medical condition.
- Your doctor expects that your injury will last for at least one year or result in death.
An experienced SSD attorney can increase the chance that your initial application will be approved by ensuring you include all requested information, offering advice on "alleged onset date" of your disability and helping you to provide evidence that your condition is one of the listed impairments that the SSA uses to determine eligibility. I draw on extensive experience to present your case in a favorable light.
Proven litigator handles appeals for denied claims
If your initial claim for SSD benefits is denied — and many claims are — it's essential to seek skilled legal counsel for an appeal. Claimants generally have 60 days from the date of the denial notification to file an appeal. There are four levels of appeal for a denied SSDI claim:
- Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
- Request for review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court Review
My firm will assist in the reconsideration stage by compiling and submitting needed medical or other evidence to substantiate your claim. I can also draft a detailed brief for the Administrative Law Judge and prepare you for the hearing. If all other efforts at appeal are unsuccessful, I may be able to file a civil suit in federal court.
Responsive advocate assists people seeking SSI benefits
If you are disabled and having difficulty meeting basic financial needs, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits. SSI benefits are available to disabled, blind and elderly people with a very limited income. While this federal program is administered by the SSA, it is not funded by Social Security taxes and therefore not dependent upon your work history. To qualify for SSI benefits, you will need to show that your impairments keep you from obtaining substantial gainful employment and that those impairments can be expected to result in death or an inability to work for at least 12 months.
The SSA will use a precise formula to calculate your eligibility based on your current assets and earning capacity. I will assess your case and help you file for these benefits. If you are not eligible, I can explore other legal options, including alternative sources of income and healthcare options.
Contact an experienced California attorney for help obtaining Social Security Disability benefits
At C. J. Smith Law, I represent people throughout California who need assistance with claims for Social Security Disability benefits. I draw on extensive experience helping clients secure the benefits they deserve. Call me at 559-320-7028 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation at my Los Angeles office.