New Mexico SSDI & SSI Denials Attorney
Each year, thousands of individuals suffer debilitating illnesses and injuries that leave them unable to work and earn a living. Not only is this a physical and emotional burden, many disabled individuals face enormous challenges supporting themselves and their families. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration offers two different disability benefit programs to those in need. At the same time, obtaining these vital public benefits is not easy, and the majority of initial claims are denied.
Roeschke Law, LLC serve as dedicated advocates of the disabled throughout the state of New Mexico. We are knowledgeable in the complicated eligibility requirements for obtaining disability benefits and work tirelessly to help our clients secure the benefits they deserve. If you or a loved one is seeking disability benefits, we will guide you through the entire process – from submitting the initial application to appeals, administrative hearings and final approvals.
What is a Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability as being unable to perform any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death. Although the SSA maintains a listing of qualifying physical and mental conditions in the Blue Book, a condition that is not included but deemed to be medically equal to a listed impairment may also meet the criteria for a disability.
Types of Disability Benefits
The two programs offered by the SSA are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Benefits under the SSDI program are available to disabled individuals who are older than 18, but under the age of 65. Although these benefits are not means tested, it is necessary to have paid into the Social Security system through income tax deductions. Additionally, the applicant must have earned sufficient work credits based on the number of quarters worked each year.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
These benefits are only available to those who are disabled, blind or over 65 years of age, regardless of whether or not they have paid into the Social Security system. Children under the age of 18 with a qualifying medical condition are also eligible. Unlike SSDI, however, these benefits are means tested which means the applicant’s income and financial resources cannot exceed a specific amount.
The Disability Benefits Application Process
Whether you are applying for SSDI and SSI, navigating the SSA system can be confusing and frustrating. The application and additional required forms must be completed correctly. Additionally, medical information must be provided, such as doctor’s reports, an exam history, lab tests and radiological exams, and any other relevant information that will verify the diagnosis and prognosis of the impairment. In sum, you must be able to show that you are incapable of performing any SGA due to the medical condition.
While this seems straightforward, the application process is lengthy and complicated. In fact, nearly two-thirds of claims at the initial application stage are denied, either because the claimant did not meet the requirements or there were errors in the application, which makes having proper legal representation invaluable. By engaging the services of Roeschke Law, LLC, you will have peace of mind knowing that your disability benefits application is in good hands.
Disability Benefit Appeals
Although the majority of Disability Benefits applications are denied, the SSA does have an exhaustive appeals process. The first step is filing a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of receiving the denial notice. At this stage, an SSA medical consultant and an examiner who were not involved in the initial decision reevaluate the claim. Unfortunately, reconsideration claims are frequently denied, unless a new diagnosis has been made or the medical condition worsened.
The next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) within 60 days of the reconsideration claim denial. An ALJ is an SSA attorney who has the authority to uphold or overturn the denial. Having an experienced disability benefits attorney represent you before an ALJ significantly increases the chances of having a denial overturned.
Nonetheless, ALJ denials are not uncommon, which will lead to a claim review by the Appeals Council. At this stage, the Council has three options: overturn the decision, deny the claim, or remand it to the ALJ for reconsideration. If the Appeals Council denies the claim, it may be possible to file a lawsuit in federal court and seek to have the decision overturned.
Roeschke Law, LLC has extensive experience in the disability benefits appeal process. We work diligently to have claim denials overturned and and provide honest advice about the prospects for success in the court system.
New Mexico Disability Benefits Attorney
At Roeschke Law, LLC we know that a disabling medical condition is a life altering experience. In addition to coping with an illness or injury, it is crucial to have proper medical care, as well as the financial resources to cover day-to-day living expenses. We have decades of experience helping the disabled navigate the SSA system and providing ongoing counsel to make sure they maintain their eligibility. We offer each client knowledge and compassion and stand by them every step of the way. If you or a loved one needs assistance obtaining disability benefits, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the Contact Form on our website.