At Affleck & Gordon, we help individuals, veterans, and families throughout Fulton County and all of Georgia with an array of disability law matters. Call now for a free consultation today! We would love to hear from you.
The federal government has several programs in place for disabled and low-income individuals in need of financial assistance. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, you could be entitled to Social Security disability. If you are a U.S. military veteran, you may qualify for benefits through the Veterans’ Affairs (VA) disability program. Individuals and families with low income and resources may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), regardless of work history.
Regardless of the challenge you are facing. Our Atlanta disability attorneys have extensive experience navigating related issues, including initial claim filings, appeals, and litigation. We aim to protect your financial security and help you obtain the fair benefits you are owed to move forward with your life.
What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security disability, or SSD, refers to disability benefits provided by the federal government to individuals who have disabilities or medical conditions that prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful employment (SGA).
There are two main types of SSD:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is available to individuals who have worked long enough and recently enough earning income that was taxed by Social Security and who have a qualifying “disability,” as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Benefits are calculated based on the claimant’s work history and are paid on a monthly basis.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI is funded by general taxes, not Social Security taxes. This means that SSI benefits are available to qualifying individuals regardless of work history. To be eligible for SSI benefits, one must be 65 or older, blind, or disabled and have limited income and resources (as defined by the SSA).
Although the qualifying requirements for each type of benefits are different, it is possible to receive both SSDI and SSI in some cases.
If you believe you may qualify for SSDI or SSI, or if you need help filing your claim, reach out to Affleck & Gordon right away. We can help you prepare your claim—including gathering the necessary evidence, documents, and paperwork—to help avoid errors and issues that could jeopardize your benefits. If your claim has already been denied, we can assist you in filing an appeal. It is important that you act quickly, as you only have a limited amount of time to appeal a denied Social Security disability claim.
What Is VA Disability?
Overseen by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, VA disability provides monetary benefits to U.S. military veterans who suffered a qualifying, service-related disability. This applies to both physical and mental health conditions, as well as preexisting conditions that were worsened by military service. Like SSI benefits, but unlike SSDI benefits, VA disability benefits are not taxable.
The process of applying for VA disability benefits can be complex and time-consuming, but our Atlanta disability lawyers at Affleck & Gordon can help. We have more than 45 years of experience navigating the disability system on behalf of veterans and have represented clients who served in all branches of the U.S. military, as well as qualifying dependents and family members.
Why Was My Claim Denied?
Unfortunately, not all applications for disability benefits are approved, and there are various reasons why a claim might be denied. Some common reasons for SSDI or SSI denials include:
- Insufficient Medical Evidence: One of the primary factors in determining disability eligibility is the presence of a medically determinable impairment that prevents the individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity. If the medical evidence provided in the application is insufficient or lacks documentation of the severity and duration of the disability, the claim may be denied.
- Failure to Follow Treatment Plans: If an individual does not follow prescribed medical treatments or fails to attend medical appointments, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may question the severity of the disability. Non-compliance with medical advice may lead to a denial of benefits.
- Lack of Work Credits (SSDI): SSDI eligibility is based on work credits earned through previous employment and payment of Social Security taxes. If an applicant does not have enough work credits, they may be ineligible for SSDI benefits.
- Engagement in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA): SSDI and SSI benefits are designed for individuals who are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to their disabilities. If the SSA determines that the applicant is still able to work at a level considered substantial, the claim may be denied.
- Inadequate Supporting Information: The application may lack sufficient details or fail to provide a complete picture of how the disability affects the individual's ability to work. Provide detailed information about daily activities, limitations, and the impact of the disability on work-related tasks is crucial.
- Failure to Cooperate: If an applicant does not provide requested information or fails to cooperate with the SSA during the application process, it can lead to a denial.
- Improvement in Medical Condition: The SSA may review cases periodically to assess whether there has been an improvement in the individual's medical condition. If the SSA believes the individual's condition has improved to the point where they can work, benefits may be discontinued.
- Earning Too Much Income (SSI): SSI is a needs-based program, and eligibility is affected by income and resources. If the individual's income or resources exceed the allowable limits, they may be ineligible for SSI benefits.
- Disability Not Expected to Last Long Enough: To qualify for disability benefits, the impairment must be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or result in death. If the SSA determines that the disability is not expected to meet this duration requirement, the claim may be denied.
It's important for individuals applying for SSDI or SSI benefits to carefully review the eligibility criteria, provide comprehensive medical documentation, and seek legal assistance if their claim is denied. Appeals processes are available for those who believe their denial was unjustified, and legal representation can be valuable in navigating these appeals.
Why Choose Us?
Hiring our Atlanta disability lawyer at Affleck & Gordon can offer a range of benefits for individuals seeking long-term disability benefits. Here are some advantages of choosing our legal representation:
- Expertise and Experience: When you choose us, you benefit from our extensive expertise and experience in handling disability claims. Our team of skilled attorneys specializes in navigating the complex process of disability law and understands the nuances of the SSA regulations.
- Guidance through the Application Process: We provide valuable guidance through every step of the disability application process. From gathering necessary documentation to completing forms accurately, we ensure that your application is thorough and presents a compelling case for disability benefits.
- Maximizing the Chance of Approval: Our team is dedicated to maximizing your chances of approval. We work diligently to present your case in the most favorable light, addressing potential pitfalls and ensuring that all relevant medical evidence is appropriately documented and submitted.
- Handling Appeals and Denials: If your initial claim is denied, we are here to guide you through the appeals process. Our experienced attorneys understand the specific requirements for appeals, including requesting reconsideration, representing you at hearings, and pursuing further legal actions if necessary.
- Communication with the SSA: We handle all communication with the Social Security Administration on your behalf. This includes responding to inquiries, providing additional documentation as needed, and addressing any concerns raised during the application or appeals process.
- Legal Representation at Hearings: Should your case progress to a disability hearing, our legal team provides expert representation. We prepare you for the hearing, present your case effectively, and advocate for your rights to maximize the likelihood of a favorable decision.
- Managing Timelines and Deadlines: Disability claims involve strict timelines and deadlines. We ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed promptly, preventing unnecessary delays and increasing the efficiency of the application or appeals process.
- Compassionate Support: We approach each case with empathy and understanding. Our team recognizes the challenges associated with disability, and we provide compassionate support to guide you through the legal process, ensuring you feel informed and supported every step of the way.
“Took care of me from day one. Knowledgeable in all areas they specialize in. Most importantly they treated me with the utmost respect. Affleck & Gordon moved me from a very difficult situation I couldn't get through on my own.”Douglas W.
Affleck & Gordon won my case!
“I filed for SSDI and had to appeal, so I hired Affleck & Gordon. The attorneys talked to me with the utmost respect and treated me like I was actually someone, not just a number.”R. Duff
I could not be more grateful to the team at Affleck & Gordon.
“I would like to thank Affleck & Gordon for representing me in my SSDI case. They are professional and caring and were always available when I had questions and concerns. Even during a pandemic, they got the job done for me.”T. Curtis
We want to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible for you. To that end, we offer completely free, zero-obligation consultations and case evaluations to all new and prospective clients. We also provide our legal services on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not owe any upfront expenses when you hire our firm; instead, we collect attorney fees only when we recover benefits on your behalf.
While the outcome of a disability claim is never guaranteed, we can assure you that we will do everything possible to help you navigate the legal system and work to recover fair disability benefits. As a multigenerational law firm, we have been serving the Atlanta community—and all of Georgia—for well over four decades. We look forward to learning how we can help you with your disability law matter.
There is no law that states you must hire a lawyer to file a disability claim. However, when you work with an attorney, you dramatically increase the likelihood of receiving full benefits more quickly than you would if you tried to navigate the process on your own.
At Affleck & Gordon, our only goal is to help you secure the fair disability benefits you are owed. We have an in-depth knowledge of the various steps required in filing for all types of SSD and VA disability benefits, as well as the appeals process. We can not only help you prepare your case and avoid making errors on your initial application but can also assist you in requesting a reconsideration, administrative hearing, or further review if your claim is denied. If necessary, we are even prepared to represent you and your rights in federal court.
You Deserve Dedicated Representation At Affleck & Gordon, we are committed to providing the highest possible legal counsel. We return calls promptly, keep you up to date on your case, and will always be there for you. We do not rest until you get what you deserve.
You Deserve Experienced Counsel With over 45 years of experience and tens of thousands of individuals helped, our team has the skill, resources, and determination to aggressively and strategically evaluate, understand and fight your claim.
You Deserve a Thorough Team The Affleck & Gordon team is not only committed to your case, but we are committed to you. We understand that this is your life and your future, and will diligently do everything on our end to obtain a favorable decision on your behalf.
You Deserve Financial Security Your case is important to you, and it’s important to us. It represents how you will or will not be able to take care of your basic needs, as well as those of your family, for the foreseeable future. We are committed to fighting for what you deserve.