Social Security Disability in Flagstaff, Arizona
If you have a medical disability that prevents you from returning to work, it can be challenging to adjust to the changes in your lifestyle and your finances. You may be entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, it’s not always easy to obtain these benefits. Many valid SSD claims are initially denied.
The experienced Flagstaff Social Security Disability attorneys of Matt Fendon Law Group can help you evaluate your eligibility and prepare an error-free application for benefits. Contact us today to learn more in a free initial consultation. Also, take the time to see what our past clients say about us in our more than 100 five-star reviews.
What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal benefits program that supports you and your family members. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must be “insured” through a qualifying work history during which you paid Social Security income taxes.
You must also be able to demonstrate that your disability meets the following criteria:
- Your disability is expected to last at least one year or result in your death.
- Your disability is associated with physical limitations that prevent you from doing basic work activities.
- Your disability prevents you from doing your usual job or any other work.
- Your disability prevents you from earning more than $1,310 per month, or $2,190 if you are blind.
- Your condition is listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book or is equivalent to a listed impairment.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits in Flagstaff
You can apply for SSDI benefits by calling the SSA, completing the application online, or visiting a local Social Security office in Flagstaff. However, before you initiate your application, it’s a good idea to review the following list of documents and information so you know what to gather ahead of time:
- Your W-2 or a recent tax return, if you are self-employed
- Medical records and test results related to your disability
- Contact information for any physicians who treated you
- Details about your prescription medications
- Your birth certificate and Social Security number
- Details of your work history and previous employers
- Your marriage certificate, if you are applying for benefits on behalf of your spouse
How Much Can I Receive in Social Security Disability Appeal?
If you are entitled to SSDI benefits, it’s natural to wonder how much you could receive in monthly payments. The severity of your disability will not affect your disability benefits, but your average lifetime earnings from your working years will.
As of 2021, the most you could receive in SSDI benefits at full retirement age is $3,148 per month. However, the majority of SSDI recipients collect anywhere from $800 to $1,800 per month in benefits.
Types of Social Security Disability Benefits
There are five main types of disability benefits available through the SSA:
- Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) ─ Also known as SSDI benefits, these benefits are for disabled individuals with qualifying work histories.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) ─ SSI benefits are for disabled individuals with limited income or assets, regardless of work history.
- Disabled Widow or Widower Benefits (DWB) – These benefits are available to disabled individuals over 50 whose late husbands or wives qualified for SSDI.
- Disabled Adult Child benefits (DAC) ─ DAC benefits are for disabled individuals over 22 whose SSDI-eligible parents are deceased or retired.
- Child’s Disability Benefits (CDB) – These benefits are another type of SSI. They are for disabled children under the age of 17 living in households with limited income.
What Happens After I Submit an SSD Application in Flagstaff?
When you submit your SSD application, it will be sent to a local SSA field office and then to Disability Determination Services (DDS) for initial processing. These departments are responsible for verifying your employment and medical disability.
The process of verifying your eligibility can take much longer if the SSA does not receive all the information it needs to make a determination. Obtaining and submitting all relevant medical records when you file can significantly speed up this process.
The SSA may also ask you to undergo a consultative exam (CE) or fill out additional paperwork to provide the information it needs during the processing stage.
Common Reasons for SSD Claim Denials
If the SSA can’t verify your work history or disability, your claim may be denied. Common reasons for SSD claim denials include:
- Lack of evidence of your qualifying medical disability
- Evidence that you failed to obey your doctor’s treatment orders
- Evidence that your disability will likely not last more than one year
- Failure to cooperate with the SSA’s information or CE requests
- Lack of evidence of your qualifying work history
- Evidence of income or assets that exceed SSI thresholds
How Can I File a Claim?
To file your SSDI claim, you can:
- Call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
- Visit the SSA website to fill out your SSD application online.
- Visit the Flagstaff SSA office at 2715 S. Woodlands Village Blvd.
What If Your SSD Claim Has Been Denied?
If your SSDI claim was denied, don’t lose hope. The majority of initial applications are denied, but your chances of approval are significantly higher if you appeal the SSA’s denial decision.
After a denial, you have 60 days to file a social security disability appeal with the SSA. The first stage of your appeal will be a simple request for reconsideration. This involves a thorough review of your Social Security Disability claim by a different examiner. You can correct information and include additional documentation for reconsideration.
If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can request a hearing from an administrative law judge (ALJ). If you are not happy with the ALJ’s ruling, you can request further review by the Appeals Council. If you are still denied, you can take your case to the federal courts by filing a civil lawsuit.
The appeals process can be complicated and discouraging. It’s a good idea to work with a knowledgeable Flagstaff Social Security Disability lawyer who can support you through every step of the process and improve your chances of success.
Contact Our Flagstaff Social Security Disability Lawyers for Assistance
When you need a dedicated Social Security Disability lawyer in Flagstaff, look no further than the team at Matt Fendon Law Group. Our attorneys have more than a decade of experience helping disabled Arizonans obtain the benefits they deserve. Contact us today to discuss the details of your SSD claim in a free case review.