Jacksonville Social Security Disability Lawyer
Thomas Farrell, IV of Farrell Disability Law helps people throughout Florida and southern Georgia recover the benefits to which they are entitled under a disability insurance policy or other insurance policy, or from Social Security. With over 20 years practicing disability law, attorney Thomas Farrell thoroughly understands the laws and procedures and knows what it takes to get you the benefits you need and deserve, even when your claim has been turned down. Contact our experienced Jacksonville Social Security Disability lawyer today.
Social Security Disability
Take a look at any pay stub you have, and you will see money withheld from your net pay in a box called FICA. That money was withheld for social security, to pay you when you retire or if you become disabled from working. It is just as though you paid premiums for disability insurance whether you wanted to or not. In fact, the name of the government program is actually Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSDI or just SSD. If every worker in the country pays into this insurance program with a portion of every dollar they earn, why is it that one-half to two-thirds of all applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied?
The answer is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) employs very strict definitions about who is disabled and goes through a complicated, multi-step process to determine whether you qualify for disability benefits or not. The process is so confusing and intimidating that most people are likely to give up once they are turned down; either they do not know they can appeal a denial, or they don’t have the stamina and expertise to go up against the gigantic bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration and do what it takes to succeed.
The fact is that there are many levels of hearings and appeals built into the process for obtaining social security disability, including requests for reconsideration, hearings before an administrative law judge, review before the appeals council, and resort to federal court. If you meet the SSA’s definition of disabled and have sufficient work credits to qualify under Title II, or a low monthly income to qualify under Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI), we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to you at the earliest possible stage.
In addition to social security, at Farrell Disability Law, we help people who have purchased their own disability insurance policy or who have a policy provided by their employer, and who are having difficulty collecting benefits under the policy. We explore the terms of your insurance policy in depth to help determine whether you may be disabled as defined by the policy, including “own occupation” policies, “any occupation” policies, and policies that combine both types of employment disability as a condition for receiving benefits. We have the knowledge and skill based on years of experience in this area to help you get your covered benefits.
If your disability insurance was purchased or sponsored by your employer, it may be covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), a complex federal law governing certain employee benefit plans. If the plan is covered by ERISA, this federal law may pre-empt state law claims, meaning that any litigation which may be necessary against the insurance company may have to take place in federal court according to federal rules. Our firm is well-versed in both ERISA and non-ERISA claims and knows how to proceed no matter what the procedure. We work to resolve your insurance dispute through pre-suit appeals according to the policy as well as civil litigation in state or federal court as necessary.
Other Benefits Denials
If you are having trouble collecting disability benefits from the Florida Retirement System, or collecting benefits under a Life Insurance or Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) policy, Farrell Disability Law can help.
- State Disability Retirement – We help school board employees, state employees and other covered employees recover under Regular Disability and Line of Duty Disability claims. We can represent you in hearings and appeals of administrative claims denials before the State Retirement Commission.
- Life Insurance – In our experience, insurance companies find numerous ways to try to deny a beneficiary’s claim, such as claiming insufficient disclosures on the application or the existence of pre-existing conditions. We represent you in good faith coverage disputes as well as instances of insurance bad faith.
- AD&D – Denials of AD&D claims frequently revolve around the question of whether there was an “accident” within the meaning of the policy. With a thorough understanding of the terms of your policy, and the laws and case law governing these disputes, we provide strong, effective representation to help you get the benefit of the policy you purchased.
Jacksonville Social Security Disability FAQs
Q: What is social security disability?
A: Social security disability is a general term for two different governmental programs which provide monetary and medical benefits for individuals who meet the government’s definition of “disability.” The two programs, Title II and Title XVI (also known as supplemental security income benefits or “SSI”) have different eligibility standards. To be eligible for Title II benefits, an individual must meet the government’s definition of disabled, and the individual must have acquired sufficient work credits over his or her working life. To be eligible for SSI benefits, an individual must meet the government’s definition of disabled, and the individual’s monthly income must be under certain limits set by the government.
Q: Do I meet the government’s definition of “disability?”
A: If you have been disabled for twelve months or are expected to be disabled for twelve months, you may be disabled under the Social Security Administration’s rules. To determine if an individual is sufficiently disabled to receive social security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration utilizes a multi-step process involving complex medical and vocational rules and regulations. An experienced attorney can assist you in proving that you are disabled under the Social Security Administration’s rules and regulations.
Q: How do I apply for social security disability benefits?
A: You can apply for benefits by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, by visiting your local Social Security Administration office, or by filing an online application. For more information , visit the official Social Security Administration website at www.ssa.gov.
Q: What if the Social Security Administration denies my claim?
A: If your claim gets denied, don’t give up! The vast majority of social security claims that are filed are denied initially. The Social Security regulations provide for a multi-level appeal process followed by a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge who works for the Social Security Administration. An experienced attorney can assist you in navigating through the appeal process, and prepare appeal paperwork on your behalf.
Q: What happens at my social security hearing?
A: At your hearing before the Administrative Law Judge, you will be questioned regarding your work history, medical conditions, symptoms and restrictions on daily activities. Testimony will often be taken from a vocational expert who may also be present for your hearing. This individual gives opinion testimony regarding your potential ability to work. Occasionally, testimony will also be taken from one or more medical experts employed by the Social Security Administration. These doctors will testify regarding your medical conditions and the restrictions caused by the conditions. An experienced attorney can thoroughly prepare you to testify at the hearing. The attorney can also cross examine all witnesses who testify at your hearing to assist you in proving that you are disabled.
Jacksonville Disability Insurance FAQs
Q: What is a disability insurance policy?
A: A disability insurance policy is a policy of insurance purchased to provide monetary benefits in the event the insured person becomes “disabled” as defined by the policy. The policy may be purchased directly by an individual, or may be sponsored by an employer. Depending on how a policy is purchased or sponsored, a dramatically different set of laws will apply regarding any disputes an individual may have with the insurance company or employer regarding payment of benefits. Most disability insurance policies that are sponsored by employers are covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). An experienced attorney can assist you in determining which state or federal laws apply to your claim.
Q: How do I prove I am disabled under the disability insurance policy?
A: Disability policies vary as to how disabled an individual must be to qualify for benefits. For example, under “own occupation” policies, an individual is only required to prove that they are unable to do their own job to qualify for benefits. Under any occupation policies, an individual must meet the more difficult standard of proving that they are unable to perform any type of work. Many disability policies combine a relatively short initial “own occupation” period followed by a longer “any occupation” period. An experienced attorney can assist you in determining the applicable definitions of disability under your policy.
Q: What if my disability insurance benefits are denied?
A: If your benefits are denied, don’t give up! Most disability insurance policies have an appeal procedure built into them, which allows you to appeal the denial and have the insurance company or employer take another look at your claim. If you run out of appeals and your claim continues to be denied, you can usually file a civil lawsuit to have a determination made regarding your eligibility for benefits. An experienced attorney can assist you in the pre-suit appeal process, as well as a civil lawsuit.
Experienced Jacksonville Social Security Disability Lawyer for Your Florida Social Security Disability or ERISA Claim
If you have submitted a claim for benefits and had your claim denied, don’t give up without calling Farrell Disability Law at 904-388-8870. Your consultation is free, and you will not be charged any fees unless we take your case and recover compensation on your behalf. Call for immediate assistance, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced Jacksonville ERISA and SSD lawyer.