If you are a resident of the State of Arkansas, and a physical or mental disability has kept you out of work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI makes monthly payments to people who are disabled and unable to work. It can be difficult to get these benefits without the help of an experienced Arkansas disability benefits appeal lawyer.
Many SSDI applications are denied every year, and many applicants find that their first application is denied. A disability benefits appeal lawyer can help get your denial overturned and fight to get you the benefits you need.
If you are seeking disability benefits in Arkansas and have had your application denied, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law for help with your case. We offer free legal consultations. Call today to schedule your consultation at (479) 316-0438.
What to Do if Your Initial Disability Claim Is Denied in Arkansas
Having an application for SSDI benefits denied is not uncommon at all – many initial SSDI claims are denied. In fact, almost 65% of initial applications from individuals in the State of Arkansas were denied in 2020. Many applicants take the denial of their initial claim as the final word on their case, but this is a common mistake.
Do not stop pursuing your claim if the Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects your first attempt. If your initial claim is denied, you should first formally request that the SSA reconsider their determination. However, if you are unsuccessful in the reconsideration stage, you may ask for a hearing with an administrative law judge, where you are substantially more likely to be approved. The request for a hearing must be made in writing within 60 days of receiving the decision. This is why it is important to obtain professional representation early, as an experienced attorney will make sure your case is prepared properly and ensure that you have the opportunity to make your case.
If your application is denied again at the administrative hearing, you still have the option to appeal the decision to the SSA’s Appeals Council. If you are denied there, you may appeal yet again to a federal court. This is an admittedly intimidating journey that many Arkansans go through every year, and while it may be grueling at times, the Social Security Administration exists primarily to help you. You should not be scared off or discouraged because you do not win the battle on the first or second (or even the third) try.
Should I Refile My Disability Application After a Denial?
You are much more likely to be approved through the appeals process than you are on a second or third initial claim, especially if there have not been substantial changes from your first application. All initial claims are reviewed by the same office, and it is unlikely that they will change their criteria for approval overnight.
The SSA is always going to look at the same criteria for eligibility whether this is your first or second application. Generally, if you have a documented medical or psychological disability that will prevent you from working for at least 12 months, you are most likely eligible for the SSDI program. You also need to show that you are not currently working and do not earn more than a specified amount of money ($1,310 per month for non-blind applicants in 2021 and $2,190 per month for blind applicants).
You may start receiving checks at any point after the first five months that your disability has affected your ability to work. However, the SSDI system contains many nuances, and it is important that you seek out the counsel of a competent and experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you work through the finer points of the program.
How Does an Administrative Law Judge Hearing Work for Disability Appeals in Arkansas?
You will have the chance to make your case in front of an administrative law judge in a private hearing during this stage of the appeals process. You may bring witnesses and medical experts to testify on your behalf. You may also have an attorney present at the hearing to help you through the process. Your lawyer can also help you answer questions from the judge about your background and the issues your condition causes you.
Hearings may be held virtually if you have concerns about health and safety or are otherwise unable to attend personally at the hearing location chosen for you. For more information about these locations, visit the state website.
Once you have completed your hearing in front of the administrative judge, it may take up to 2 months for a decision to be rendered. If you are unsuccessful in your hearing, the road does not necessarily end there, and an Arkansas disability benefits appeals lawyer can help you with the next steps.
When to Seek Representation for a Disability Denial
It is helpful for applicants to get assistance from an attorney from the very beginning, but it is particularly important to secure professional representation prior to the hearing stage. Applicants who enter the appeals process with an attorney are almost 40% more likely to be approved. This is due to the highly complex nature of the Social Security system. An experienced Arkansas disability benefits appeals attorney can help you navigate the common pitfalls and ultimately get you the help that you need.
Do I Get Disability Benefits During the Appeals Process?
If your appeal is ultimately successful, it is very likely that you will receive back pay to your application date for all of the time that you spent in the appeals process. With SSDI, you may even receive retroactive pay back to the date of your injury. So, while it may feel taxing and fruitless in the moment, keep in mind that succeeding in your claim will make the effort worth it in the long run.
If you are able to work part-time during the appeals process and feel that some income is necessary to support yourself during this time, speak to an attorney about your options. Accepting income while receiving SSDI benefits may hurt your eligibility or trigger a trial work period.
Call Our Arkansas Disability Benefits Appeals Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation
An experienced, diligent attorney handling the minute details of your case can be the deciding factor between getting the benefits you need or having your application denied. It is never too early to reach out for help. For a free legal consultation, call Arkansas disability benefits appeals lawyer Ken Kieklak today at (479) 316-0438.