Social Security disability benefits are generally designed to help assist people who have suffered a debilitating injury or illness that prevents them from holding a job. However, even legitimate claims are denied on a regular basis. A wide array of factors may affect a worker’s eligibility for SSDI, including insufficient medical records, insufficient work history, and a lack of information in the disability application. To make matters worse, Social Security Disability laws can be complicated and time-consuming for a person attempting to understand them. Contact a skilled Cook County SSDI lawyer to begin discussing potential legal options.
You may feel lost in a bureaucratic maze, wondering if obtaining social security benefits is still obtainable after receiving a denial letter. However, even if you feel reluctant to seek the assistance of a social security attorney, it is likely your best option. A compassionate injury attorney could help you navigate past any legal roadblocks and work to secure the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Important Legal Elements of SSDI Claims
People applying for Social Security of SSDI in Illinois typically should receive a written decision on their claim within three to four months. If an application is denied, the applicant may still be eligible to receive benefits through an appeals process.
To appeal an SSDI denial, the applicant generally must complete a “Request for Reconsideration” form and submit it to the Social Security Administration within 65 days of the date of the denial letter. If this reconsideration is denied, the applicant may appear for a disability hearing in front of an administrative judge.
The wait to appear for a disability hearing can vary, but applicants generally should not expect a swift case. The average wait time for a disability hearing in Cook County is 15 months, which may be slightly shorter than the national average.
In some cases, plaintiffs may bring a lay witness to their hearing to support their testimony. In calling a lay witness, the plaintiff may want to choose someone who is honest, knowledgeable about the plaintiff’s medical condition, and articulate. Administrative law judges often give less weight to the testimony of friends and family members. Some examples of good lay witnesses that a Cook County SSDI attorney could help you seek out may include:
- Former employers
- Former coworkers
Medical Experts in SSDI Cases
In a small number of SSDI cases, a medical expert may be required to testify. Medical experts are often called in cases involving complex conditions or when there are questions about the medical history of the claimant. The job of the medical expert is to review the available records and testify to whether the impairment of the claimant meets or equals a qualifying condition.
Plaintiffs in Cook County generally have the right to call their own medical expert. However, this may be an expensive endeavor and typically should only be done if absolutely necessary.
If a physician is willing to testify for little or no fee that knows the plaintiff’s condition, they may be a viable option. Alternatively, vocational experts participate in an array of Social Security Disability hearings may testify on the ability of the claimant to perform their past work or any work at all.
Either way, if the expert testifies that the plaintiff could still perform work, their claim may be denied. For these reasons, cross-examination of the vocational expert by a qualified SSDI lawyer in Cook County may make the difference between the success and failure of a case.
Contacting a Cook County SSDI Attorney
When you are denied SSDI benefits, you may have the right to appeal to an administrative judge. During your hearing, the specific details of your case and testimony of key witnesses may play a major role in the outcome. An experienced Cook County SSDI lawyer could provide assistance with the different aspects of Social Security Disability benefits and appeals. Call today to schedule an initial consultation