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Social Security Disability Claims

Wisconsin Social Security Disability

Daniel Kondos Law Offices has represented people all over Wisconsin in their claims for Social Security disability benefits. At our office, Social Security cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, which means our office receives 25% of a claimant's past-due benefits AFTER we prevail on their claim. Our clients pay us nothing during the pendency of their case, and if we are not successful our clients pay no attorney fees. If you are interested in consulting with an attorney in person, please call our office to schedule an appointment. If you are unable to visit our office, please call and we will arrange a home or hospital visit, or send you further information by mail.

Social Security Disability is a federal program designed to provide limited income to people who can no longer work due to a physical or mental impairment. The Disability Benefits come from Social Security taxes that the disabled worker previously paid to the government, while the individual was working.

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

The Social Security process is confusing and burdensome. The first step in the process is the filing of an initial claim. The initial claim should be filed as soon as someone becomes disabled. An individual can file an initial claim by calling the Social Security Administration toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, and they will schedule an appointment for your application to be taken over the telephone or at your local district Social Security office. In order to apply for disability benefits you should have the following information:

  • your Social Security number;
  • your birth certificate or other evidence of your date of birth;
  • your military discharge papers, if you were in the military service;
  • your spouse's birth certificate and Social Security number if he or she is applying for benefits;
  • your children's birth certificates and Social Security numbers if they are applying for benefits; and
  • your checking or savings account information, so your benefits can be directly deposited;
  • names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and institutions that treated you and dates of treatment;
  • names of all medications you are taking;
  • medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and caseworkers;
  • laboratory and test results;
  • a summary of where you worked in the past 15 years and the kind of work you did;
  • a copy of your W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement), or if you are self-employed, your federal tax return for the past year;
  • dates of prior marriages if your spouse is applying

Do not wait to file for benefits just because you do not have all of the above-listed information. File your claim and then obtain the required documentation.

If you are applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits, in addition to the information listed above, you will also need the following:

  • information about the home where you live, such as your mortgage or your lease and landlord's name;
  • payroll slips, bank books, insurance policies, car registration, burial fund records, and other information about your income and the things you own;

If you are applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits, in addition to the information listed above, you will also need the following:

What if You are Denied Social Security Benefits

Several million individuals are denied Social Security Benefits every year. Many of these people really are disabled. If you have been denied benefits, but you feel you are disabled, then make sure you appeal your denial within 60 days of the decision. There can be four administrative steps and three judicial steps in a Social Security disability case. They are as follows:

The majority of cases are won at the first and third administrative levels. If someone is awarded benefits at the initial determination level then their experience with the appeals process is over. However, many people are denied benefits and must file a Request for Reconsideration in order to appeal the initial denial. Only 10-20% of claims that reach the Reconsideration level are actually won there. If a claim is denied at reconsideration, then the individual must request a Hearing in order to pursue the claim any further. Present at the administrative hearing will be an Administrative Law Judge, usually a vocational expert, sometimes a medical expert, and the claimant. Hearings generally last from 30-90 minutes. It is essential for a claimant to find quality legal representation prior to the hearing. Approximately 60% of the cases that go to hearing are won there. If a claim is denied by the administrative law judge at the hearing, then the final administrative remedy is to ask the Appeals Council to review the judge's decision. Very few cases are won at the Appeals Council, and the Appeals Council is not required to look at every case that comes before it.

Following a denial from the Appeals Council, a claimant can file a petition in Federal District Court. At this stage, a claimant is essentially suing the U.S. Government for making an improper denial of their claim. If the Federal District Court decision is unfavorable, it can be appealed to the Court of Appeals and even the U.S. Supreme Court upon demand by either party.

How the Social Security Administration Determines if You are Disabled

You should be familiar with the process Social Security uses to determine if you are disabled. It's a step-by-step process involving five questions, depending on your age. They are:

  1. Are you working? If you are and your earnings average more than $720 a month, you usually will not be considered disabled.
  2. Is your condition severe? Your impairments must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered.
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling impairments? Social Security maintains a list of impairments for each of the major body systems. If you suffer from one of these impairments you are automatically determined to be disabled and you do not have to go through steps 4 and 5.
  4. Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition is severe, but not at the same or equal severity as an impairment on the list, then it must be determined if your condition significantly interferes with your ability to do the work you did in the last 15 years. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, your claim will be considered further.
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do the work you did in the last 15 years, then Social Security will look to see if you can do any other type of work. Social Security will consider your age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills, and will review the job demands of occupations as determined by the Department of Labor. If you cannot do any other kind of work, your claim will be approved. If you can do other work, your claim will be denied.

Generally, any claim that makes it to step 5 will go to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. At this step, Social Security has the burden of proving that other jobs exist in the economy in significant numbers that you can do.

Why Hire an Attorney

The Social Security appeals process can be very confusing for someone unfamiliar with it. Our staff, however, sees the process as providing several levels at which a claim can be won. The attorneys in our office are familiar with the "administration" and we know how to obtain benefits. When you hire a skilled Social Security attorney, he or she will begin preparing your case for Federal Court review at the earliest possible step. Obviously, Federal Court review is not the path that we want to take, but, if we are able to convince the administrative law judge that he or she will be overturned at the Federal Court level (or the Appeals Council level) if they deny your claim at the hearing, then the judge will be reluctant to deny such a claim. The statistics are clear, claimants with attorneys are much more likely to receive benefits than those who go through the system without representation.

What is unique about Daniel Kondos Law Offices is that we are truly advocates for our disability clients. We are not only concerned with getting them benefits (and eventually Medicare), but we also do everything we can to get them necessary medical treatment while their case is pending. While prosecuting your claim we will provide assistance in obtaining all types of local, state, and federal medical assistance. We always provide this additional, vital assistance at no cost to our disability clients. If you have been denied social security disability benefits, then contact an experienced Wisconsin Social Security Disability Attorney for a free consultation.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one have been habe been denied Social Security Disability, please contact Daniel P. Kondos today. Attorneys are available by phone, e-mail, or by clicking here.