Don’t Let Disabilty Claims Cripple You

parmele-law-firmIf an individual unfortunately develops a disability, either permanent or temporary, the outcome seems straight forward enough. The afflicted party fills out some paperwork indicating that he or she is unable to work, and receives an annuity, correct?

But the reality is a bit more complicated than that. In addition to the well known Social Security Insurance program, there are a number of other public and private disability programs. All of them are a form of insurance, and like all insurance companies, these programs don’t want to pay out on claims unless they absolutely have to. Often after a disability claim is initially submitted, it passes through multiple examining offices, and often results in a hearing, before a claim is either approved nor denied. If this sounds like an exhaustive and time consuming process, it is. The average Social Security Disability Insurance claim takes as long as two years to process. Disability annuities offered to Federal workers through the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) can take anywhere from 6-12 months to process. Claims for employees in the private sector can take a comparable amount of time for processing.

This can create a difficult situation for one who is unemployed due to disability and needs money for medical and living expenses. And applying for disability is no guarantee of receiving it. In the case of Social Security, more than half of all applicants are denied benefits when they apply for them. These applicants have the option of appealing these rejections, and results vary by state, but claimants appealing rejections on their own generally have a success rate of less than 20%. Many applicants also don’t bother to refile a rejected application, intimidated by all that paperwork and the appeals process.

Those individuals would have been well advised to seek the services of a disability law lawyer. The vast majority of disability applicants who file for it have a solid claim to benefits, and a disability lawyer can help applicants get them by making sure that all of that onerous paperwork has been properly filed in a timely fashion, and that all needed appointments as part of the process (doctor, physical therapist) are kept. A disability law lawyer represents clients at all hearings, and in the case of private employers and insurance companies, can negotiate benefits for clients.

It is often possible for disabled individuals to return to work or continue working. Sometimes they find that employers are reluctant or hostile about allowing adequate recovery time from a disability, or making modifications to continue in a job. A lawyer can be very helpful in insuring that a client’s job is held for him or her, or that reasonable accommodations are offered to a permanently impaired employee.

There is no reason today for the disabled to have to suffer discrimination in work and life, or struggle with the benefits application process alone. Contact, and learn how their attorneys can assist you.

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