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Social Security Disability
At The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn, we represent injured and disabled workers in applications and appeals seeking Social Security benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Whether you have a substantial work history or have never been employed, we can fight to obtain benefits for you. For more information regarding our ability to assist you with your claim, call The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits
The federal government provides benefits for people who were previously employed, paid into the Social Security system and then became unable to work. These are called Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The amount paid each month is based on the prior wages earned.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
For people who have never been employed, people who worked, but did not declare their income or pay into the Social Security system, and those who have been out of the workforce for many years, SSDI (Disability) benefits are not available. Such people, however, may recover Supplemental Security Income, depending on the extent of their other household income.
How The Disability Process Works
In most cases, The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn represents claimants who have initially been denied benefits. If your initial claim is denied, you will have a time period within which to appeal the decision of the Social Security Administration that you are not disabled. In southeastern Pennsylvania, the appeal constitutes a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ hears testimony from the claimant, from a vocational expert and, in some cases, from a doctor or another medical expert who is familiar with the claimant’s type of medical problem. We represent claimants in this type of hearing. We prepare the case for trial, gather the necessary medical records from the claimant’s treating doctors and represent the claimant before the ALJ.
Prevailing In An SSDI Or SSI Case
Under the federal law regarding Social Security claims, the following issues ordinarily arise:
- Substantial gainful activity — If a claimant is currently employed in substantial gainful activity, their claim will be denied. Ordinarily, claimants are not engaged in substantial gainful activity when they apply for Social Security benefits.
- Severe impairment — Does the claimant have a physical or mental disease or condition that the Social Security Administration recognizes as being sufficiently severe to prevent them from working full time?
- Is the claimant’s medical condition a recognized and disabling one?
- Does the claimant’s medical condition prevent them from returning to the type of work they performed in the recent past?
- If the claimant’s condition does prevent the claimant from performing relevant past work, can the claimant be retrained to engage in substantial gainful activity in another field?
- If the evidence presented to the ALJ demonstrates that the claimant is incapable of returning to any previously held job and cannot be retrained to perform another type of job, then the claim for Social Security benefits should be approved.
We know that each claim for disability benefits is extremely important. We take the time to understand the claimant’s work history, their physical and/or mental impairments, and their level of education, all of which become relevant in the hearing before the administrative law judge. Generally speaking, the less educated and older the claimant, the less severe their condition must be before they are approved for benefits.
The ALJ Hearing
In most cases, the witnesses appearing before the administrative law judge include the claimant (represented by counsel), a vocational expert (who reports to the court about the type of work that the claimant has been engaged in and may answer questions, in the form of a hypothetical, regarding the potential for the claimant to engage in other work) and a medical or mental health professional (such as a doctor or psychiatrist) who may assist the court in understanding the specific nature of the claimant’s conditions.
When A Social Security Disability Attorney Makes Sense
If you are just filing for Social Security Disability benefits, we can advise you as to how to maximize the likelihood that you will be granted benefits at the initial level. However, you should know that most claims are denied initially.
Most of our clients call The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn after they have received a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that their claim has been denied and before they have requested a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Being represented before the administrative law judge greatly improves the likelihood that your claim will be granted. At The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn, we have extensive experience handling these types of cases. We take the time to gather all of our clients’ medical records from the doctors who treated them. We submit those medical records to the Social Security Administration prior to the date of the hearing before the ALJ. We know how to present your case and what medical evidence will be persuasive to the court.
When the claimant is represented by an attorney from The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn, the attorney attends the hearing with the claimant. The attorney meets in advance with the claimant to prepare their testimony. The ALJ will often question the claimant as to their condition and their daily activities. The attorney will then question the claimant in more detail.
Put Our Experience To Work For You
We frequently hear from claimants who appeared without counsel before an ALJ. Many complain that if they had only known what to say or had been asked the appropriate questions, their claim would have been approved, rather than denied. Since most claimants are not medical experts themselves, they are not able to thoroughly review their medical records and point out to the ALJ the most significant findings and test results. Because of our access to experts and our own expertise, we have, on occasion, developed our cases to the point where the ALJ grants the claim for benefits without a hearing, saving the claimant a day in court.