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Legal Blog by Las Vegas based Richard Harris Law Firm

Filed under: Social Security Disability

December 10, 2018

Social Security Disability: The Statistics Are Startling

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are designed to protect Americans who can no longer work due to severe injury or illness. Throughout our working lives, a portion of our paycheck pays into the Social Security…

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Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are designed to protect Americans who can no longer work due to severe injury or illness. Throughout our working lives, a portion of our paycheck pays into the Social Security system, which is intended to work like an insurance policy. Many disabled individuals seeking SSD benefits assume that, because these benefits are funded by their paychecks, approval should be relatively simple. Unfortunately, data shows otherwise.

According to the Social Security Administration’s 2016 Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, the total award rate among all types of SSD applicants, or the number of people awarded benefits divided by the total number of applicants, was a staggeringly low 28.7 percent. Yes, that’s right—more than two-thirds of SSD applicants in 2015 were denied benefits for a variety of reasons.

Don’t jeopardize your approval by handling your disability claim without experienced help. At Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm, we know how the Social Security Administration operates, and we have the experience necessary to ensure your claim is as strong as it can be. Our Nevada and California attorneys want to provide you with the best possible chances of approval for Social Security Disability benefits—even if you’ve already been denied at the initial level.

How Our Attorneys Help You Apply for Disability Benefits

If you choose us to handle your SSD benefits claim, we can take the following two steps to build a strong case on your behalf:

  • We’ll ensure your paperwork is correct and complete. A big part of SSD eligibility is determining if you’ve worked long enough to become eligible for benefits. This process sounds simple, but even the smallest error or omission in your application for benefits or during the appeal process can lead to delays or denials.
  • We’ll gather medical evidence to help demonstrate your disability. To get approved for SSD benefits, your injury or illness must meet medical severity criteria outlined by the Social Security Administration. Our experienced staff can gather records, diagnostics, and other evidence necessary to help demonstrate the true severity of your disability.

Contact Us 24/7

Whether you’re considering applying for SSD benefits or you need help with your appeal, Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm wants to help. Call us 24/7 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Las Vegas Social Security Disability attorneys.

Filed under: Blog, Social Security Disability

October 15, 2018

Avoid These Common SSD Mistakes

Every time you earn a paycheck, some of your money goes to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Most people recoup that money when they retire, but others need it earlier due to injuries or illnesses…

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Every time you earn a paycheck, some of your money goes to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Most people recoup that money when they retire, but others need it earlier due to injuries or illnesses that prevent them from working. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a lifesaver for many workers and their families, but getting approved for those benefits isn’t always easy.

The SSA has strict criteria for determining who is eligible to receive benefits, and many people with valid claims fall through the cracks due to small oversights or minor mistakes. At Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm, we know how finicky and even unfair the SSA can be when it comes to approving applications. It’s our goal to help applicants get the money they deserve—and that includes helping them avoid mistakes.

3 Common Reasons SSD Applications Are Denied

In our years of assisting SSD applicants, we’ve found that the following mistakes account for many rejections and denials by the SSA:

  1. Waiting too long to apply for benefits—As soon as you become disabled, you should apply for benefits. The longer you wait to apply, the longer you go without the money you need and the more skeptical the SSA may be of your claim.
  2. Ignoring doctor’s orders—The SSA will carefully examine your medical care and records, including treatment protocols. If you don’t follow your doctor’s orders carefully or miss appointments and treatments, your claim may be denied.
  3. Applying or appealing without a lawyer’s help—The SSD benefits application process is complicated and lengthy. Paperwork must be submitted accurately and on time, and even minor mistakes can jeopardize claims. An experienced lawyer can make sure your application is complete and filed in a timely manner.

We’re here to help you avoid mistakes and to maximize your chances of getting the benefits you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

Nevada law firm, Law firm Las Vegas

Filed under: Social Security Disability

July 21, 2016

Social Security Disability Claims

How the Richard Harris Law Firm Works to Secure Benefits for Clients As Americans, we take pride in our work, but when you, a friend or family member cannot work because of an illness, injury or…

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How the Richard Harris Law Firm Works to Secure Benefits for Clients

Social Security Disability ClaimsAs Americans, we take pride in our work, but when you, a friend or family member cannot work because of an illness, injury or emotional problem, it can overwhelm. With no way to pay medical bills and provide for family, disabled people need help. The Social Security Disability system
exists to help those in need. But convincing the government to provide benefits can confuse and frustrate – without the help of an experienced Social Security Disability professional. The Richard Harris Law Firm is here to help get disability benefits and put lives back on track.

The attorneys and professional disability representatives at the firm have decades of experience helping clients obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Under these programs, individuals receive monthly checks and medical benefits. Unfortunately, the claims of most first-time applicants who go it alone are denied because of insufficient medical proof of a disabling physical or mental impairment. Our law firm handles the disability claim process from start to finish and offers valuable assistance in our clients’ interactions with the Social Security Administration.

  • We accept clients at all stages of the claim process.
  • We help clients complete applications and other forms, collect medical records and other necessary documentation.
  • We make sure Social Security has all the needed medical records.
  • We help appeal the claim if the benefits are denied and ensure all requirements and deadlines are met.
  • We appear before Social Security Administrative Law Judges in hearings to determine eligibility and continue fighting in Federal Court.
  • We advise and guide clients through the entire process.

Our Social Security lawyers and professional disability representatives can significantly improve our clients’ chances of obtaining benefits. Our attorney’s fee is limited to 25% of the back award, or $6,000, whichever is less. No fees are taken from the monthly checks our clients receive after benefits are awarded. If there is no award for back disability benefits, there is no fee.

Trust the Professional Disability Representatives at one of Nevada’s largest disability practices.

Member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives

Nevada law firm, Law firm Las Vegas

Filed under: Social Security Disability

July 10, 2015

Been Denied Social Security Disability? We Have Answers!

Many people struggle for years trying to cope with the pressures of working while dealing with a disabling physical or mental impairment. Finally, they realize they can no longer go on and apply for disability.…

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Many people struggle for years trying to cope with the pressures of working while dealing with a disabling physical or mental impairment. Finally, they realize they can no longer go on and apply for disability. After months of waiting, they are shocked to learn the Social Security Administration has issued a denial in their case; what can be done?

Are denials common?

The short answer is “yes.” According to the SSA website, far more applicants are denied than approved. A look at the numbers:

  • Over 2,000,000 disability applications are submitted each year
  • Of those, approximately 31 percent are not evaluated for disability but are instead given what is called a “technical” denial
  • Of the 69 percent that are reviewed by the SSA for disability, over 60 percent are denied benefits

What is a technical denial?

There are a variety of reasons for a technical denial, and they begin with an incomplete application. The disability process requires a great deal of information concerning the claimant’s work history, educational background, medical records and personal data. A failure to provide all that is required may trigger a denial.

Other technical denials involve a worker having insufficient work credits to qualify for disability, or perhaps the worker is still employed and is making too much money. In any case, the SSA provides a written explanation of the grounds for the denial.

What happens when the disability claim itself is denied?

If a claimant has met the threshold requirements for the SSA to evaluate his or her claim, the application is evaluated under a five step process, which includes:

  1. Is the claimant working?
  2. How severe is the claimant’s impairment(s)?
  3. Does the claimant’s condition meet or exceed SSA’s Listing of Impairments?
  4. Can the claimant do the type work that he or she did previously?
  5. Can the claimant do any other type of work?

A failure of the claimant to meet the requirements at any stage of this sequential process will result in the disability examiner’s issuance of a denial.

Is there a realistic hope to win disability benefits after a denial?

The good news is that the SSA has an established system of appeal that may be pursued. The bad news is that the denial numbers, at least on the first level of appeal, are even worse than on the initial application. Although less than half of the denied claimants appeal, more than 90 percent of those are denied again at the next stage, called reconsideration. Reconsideration is essentially the same process as the initial review but with a different examiner.

What happens after reconsideration?

The reality is that most people give up and accept the denial; only about 18 percent appeal a denial at reconsideration. For those that do persevere, however, statistically, there is reason for optimism. Of those that make it to the next level, the administrative law hearing, over 80 percent are awarded benefits.

What happens at the administrative law hearing?

An administrative law judge holds a hearing in which the entire case is reviewed anew. The claimant and supporting witnesses may testify, as well as medical and vocational experts the judge may wish to hear.

Why is this hearing so important?

Every case is different, but the primary reason the administrative hearing is so critical is because it is the first time the claimant gets to speak for him or herself. The judge weighs the testimony and evidence carefully.

Do I need an attorney?

You do not need legal counsel at any stage of the disability process, but you are legally entitled to such representation if you so desire. Once a claimant gets to the administrative hearing, it is prudent to retain an experienced social security disability lawyer. This is the best chance to win the claim and the hearing process, which is similar although less formal than a trial, is more than most people are able to handle on their own.

It is important to understand that the Social Security Disability application process is a complex maze of rules and regulations. It requires you to follow established procedures, and perhaps most of all, be persistent. If you are eligible and cannot work because of a physical or mental impairment, be certain to do all you can to receive the benefits you deserve.

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Filed under: Social Security Disability

July 27, 2014

When It Comes to SSD Claims, ALWAYS File for an Appeal

Did you know the SSA rejects TWO THIRDS of initial applications? Don't give up and, if you have friends or family who are struggling with the process, don't let them give up either. In this…

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Did you know the SSA rejects TWO THIRDS of initial applications? Don’t give up and, if you have friends or family who are struggling with the process, don’t let them give up either.