According to the Tampa Bay Times in an article prepared by the Social Security Administration and published on April 24, 2012 there are several time factors Social Security Disability applicants should know. If you are still receiving disability benefits when you reach your full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically be converted to retirement benefits. Also, there is a five month waiting period after the onset of a disability before you can receive benefits. The Social Security law states you can’t begin to receive benefits before the sixth month.

While you can file claims or by telephone it’s best to go to your local Tampa, Florida Social Security office – and file your claim in person.

Why you Should Use a Lawyer for a Disability Claim

If you cannot work because of a medical condition and think you deserve social security disability benefits, don’t be intimidated by the application process. The SSA approves just a little over one-fourth of initial applications. Of those who are denied, many are people who have pursued disability without getting legal advice first from a lawyer. Sometimes, this is because the interviewer’s decision is wrong. However, it is very often because the application is missing something or it fails to present everything needed to support a claim.

It is advisable to use a lawyer to process your application and to pursue your claim. An experienced lawyer or advocate can help to organize paperwork and medical records, prepare you or your witnesses for hearing, and will likely have a vast amount of previous experience dealing with SSA offices and judges in your area.

Key steps:

1. Determine if you are eligible:

  1. Your medical condition must prevent you from working for at least 1 year or be a medical condition that will result in death.
  2. For the differences between SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

2. Fill out and submit application forms:

  1. Local offices. At the claimant’s local Social Security field office when the claimant is seeking disability benefits under the Social Security Act.
    • For a full list of Florida Offices please click this link.
    • Office locations in Tampa Bay and nearby are:
      • 3415 E Frontage Rd Tampa, FL 33607-7009 Telephone: 1-800-772-1213
      • 4010 Gunn Highway, Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33618, Telephone: 1-800-772-1213
      • 2340 Drew Street, Clearwater, FL 33765, Telephone: 1-800-772-1213
      • 33630 Adair Road, Dade City, FL 33525, Telephone: 1-800-772-1213
      • 5520 Gatlin Avenue, Suite 101, Orlando, FL 32812-7775, Telephone: 1-866-964-6146
      • 3700 Commercial Drive, Sebring, FL 33870, Telephone: 1-800-772-1213
      • 1395 Havendale Blvd NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881, Telephone: 1-800-772-1213
  2. By telephone. See the information for local offices directly above.
  3. Online – from anywhere
  4. At a local office of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) when benefits are being sought under the Medically Needy program.

3. Submit all documentation that supports your application;

  1. Obtain your birth or baptismal certificate.
  2. Military discharge papers, if applicable.
  3. Your health records including care provider information, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and medications. You’ll also need your laboratory results.
  4. Your employment records.
  5. Your tax records – federal returns and/or W-2s for the last year.
  6. Any prior claims for disability through any related insurance (disability insurance, worker’s compensation, etc.). You’ll need the claim number, date of disability, contact information and supporting records.
  7. Be prepared to sign a medical release form.
  8. Your banking account and routing numbers so moneys can be deposited if your claim is approved.

4. Attend a disability application interview.

5. Initial decision. When your application is complete, the SSA will forward your file to a state Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. A DDS examiner and medical review board will review your application and make the initial decision about whether or not you are disabled.

6. If your claim is denied you can:

  1. Ask for a reconsideration before an SSA representative
  2. If you lose the reconsideration ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
  3. If you lose the hearing bring an appeal before the Social Security Appeals Council
  4. If you lose the appeal file a lawsuit in Federal District Court

How our law firm can help?

If anyone you know needs to file for social security disability or has had their social security claim denied let our law firm help you get the recovery you deserve. During this difficult time we will help you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law and we will assist you through every step of the case.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.