>On behalf of The Keating Law Firm, LLC posted in disability benefits on Friday, February 12, 2016.

Each year more than 11 million Americans receive disability benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance, and although it’s a lifeline for many people, SSDI is one of the most misunderstood federal programs.

Here let’s discuss what Louisianans need to know about SSDI, including the important steps you’ll need to take to file a successful claim.

While it’s important to get the application right the first time, you may still be eligible for benefits if your claim is initially denied.

In the last decade or so, Social Security has approved only about 36 percent of disability claims. Of those, about a quarter were approved on the initial claim; 2 percent were approved on appeal; and 11 percent were approved at hearings.

A claim can be denied for a number of reasons. In many cases, the applicant hasn’t provided enough medical evidence to demonstrate that a mental or physical impairment prevents the person from working. Sufficient medical evidence is crucial to filing a successful claim. Ideally, this evidence will include doctors’ opinions about how your disability prevents you from doing any kind of gainful work.

Also, the disability must last or be expected to last at least 12 months. Often benefits are denied because the evidence doesn’t demonstrate that the disability will last that long.

In other cases, benefits are denied for technical reasons. For example, the applicant hasn’t accumulated enough work credits, hasn’t paid taxes into the system, or has an income that exceeds the yearly maximum established by Social Security.

Remember, though: if your claim is denied the first time around, then you can appeal, but this has to be done within 60 days of receiving the denial.

Because the application process is so demanding, many people get help from a disability law attorney.

At The Keating Law Firm, we help people in New Orleans, Metairie and across Louisiana apply for and receive SSDI benefits. Really, the application process is like a job in itself, and we understand how worrisome and frustrating a denial can be. Our attorneys help alleviate our clients’ burdens at every step in the application process.

If you want to learn more about SSDI and applying for benefits, then please see our SSDI FAQ, where we provide answers to the following questions:

  • What kinds of evidence is Social Security looking for?
  • Is it a good idea to try returning to work before my claim has been decided?
  • Why did Social Security deny my claim?
  • What kinds of medical conditions qualify for SSDI benefits?
  • Why should I hire an attorney to handle my disability claim?

Read More