Social Security Disability FAQs

Social Security Disability Lawyers Serving Denver, Colorado Springs, Greeley And Other Colorado Residents

If you have become disabled either permanently or for a time period that will last longer than a year, then you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Greeley, Colorado Springs and other Colorado residents can enlist the help of a skilled lawyer with experience handling disability claims by contacting the Denver and Colorado Springs firm of Cliff Enten. We want to help make the claim filing process as painless as possible, so we've included some answers to commonly asked questions. For more free legal advice, contact the Law Offices of Cliff Enten.

Social Security Disability FAQs

How do I apply for Social Security disability benefits?

You have to file an application through the Colorado Social Security Administration. You can either go into the Social Security office and fill out the paperwork by hand or call the office and have someone take your application information over the phone. We recommend making an appointment and going to the office in person. Calling the Social Security Administration often involves being on hold for hours at a time.

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I only recently became disabled. How long should I wait before filing a disability claim?

Don't strain your remaining sources of income by waiting to file a Social Security Disability claim. The claim application will take some time to process. File a claim as soon as you find out from your doctor you are unable to work, whether the disability is temporary or permanent.

Do I have to be permanently disabled in order to file a disability claim?

No, but you have to be diagnosed with either a condition that is likely to result in death, or a temporary disability that will prevent you from performing any work for at least a year. For disabilities that will go away after a year or more, benefits are available to cover at least part of your lost wages during the time you are unable to work. If your condition will likely be fatal, a state government program is available to provide you with the funds to pay for your living expenses during the time you have left, and to help you or your family with the cost of your medical care.

The Law Offices of Cliff Enten has experience handling Social Security Disability claims. Contact our offices serving Greeley, Denver, Colorado Springs and the entire state to make an appointment to meet with a lawyer and receive a free case evaluation. You can come to our office, or we can meet you at your home or hospital room. We're here to help you.

Are there different types of Social Security Disability benefits?

Yes. There are four different types of Social Security Disability benefits our lawyers serving Greeley and all of Colorado can help you file a claim for.

  • Disability Insurance Benefits are for people who have held a job for at least five of the 10 years before they became disabled.
  • Disabled Widow's and Widower's Benefits are given to people who are over 50 and were married to a person who was covered by Social Security insurance by a current or former employer. If the person becomes disabled after the death of their spouse, they are eligible for benefits.
  • Disabled Adult Child Benefits are granted to a person who became disabled before the age of 22. The person's parents must be dead, retired or receiving government benefits, or also receiving disability benefits.
  • Supplemental Security Income is for people who are poor and disabled. It also applies to disabled children under the age of 18.

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What is the Social Security office's definition of disabled?

To be found disabled by the Social Security office, you have to be able to prove you can no longer perform any work. This means you are no longer physically or mentally qualified to work any of the jobs you've done in the past and any job you might try to do in the future. The Social Security office will review your application and medical records. It will also ask for the names of any doctors or hospitals that have treated you for your disability so they can be contacted if more information is needed. The Social Security Administration has its own doctors on staff who will also give you an examination. After all the evidence has been collected, the decision regarding whether or not you will be declared disabled depends on the opinion of the examiner who is responsible for reviewing your claim. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can make an educated guess about what an examiner will decide, but no one can guarantee your claim will be accepted.

Do veteran's benefits or other forms of government assistance prevent me from receiving Social Security Disability benefits?

Nope. If you qualify for both forms of government benefits, then you can receive both Social Security Disability benefits and veteran's benefits at the same time. The same goes for workers' compensation benefits. You should keep in mind, however, that even if the Veteran's Administration (VA) office has declared you are disabled, that doesn't mean the Social Security Administration (SSA) will also decide you are disabled. The VA and the SSA are two different government offices that do not share information unless it is requested, and do not base their decisions on what the other office decides. The VA's requirements for disability claims tend to be less strict than the SSA's. It is also easier to win a workers' compensation claim than it is to win a Social Security Disability claim. In other words, it is easier to prove you've been injured than it is to prove you've been disabled.

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Are there factors other than my level of disability that may affect my chances of being awarded disability benefits?

The age of the person trying to claim eligibility for disability benefits is often a factor. People over age 60 who can no longer perform any of the jobs they have done in the last 15 years usually have the best chance of getting disability benefits. People under the age of 45 have the most difficulty being declared disabled, even if they genuinely cannot work. But difficult does not mean impossible. If you are sure you cannot work, especially if you have the support of your doctor, file for Social Security Disability. Younger people should expect to be denied initially, but a truly disabled person will eventually win an appeal. Your age should never stop you from filing if you have a valid claim.

What shouldn't you do after you have filed a Social Security disability claim?

Read through our list to make sure you don't hurt your chances of getting your Social Security Disability claim accepted. Residents of Greeley and other Colorado areas can also contact our Denver and Colorado Springs offices for more information.

  • Don't wait too long to file for benefits. The Social Security office may be less likely to accept your claim if there is a large gap between the time you became disabled and the time when you decided to file your Social Security Disability application.
  • Don't forget to file a prompt appeal if your claim is initially denied. Most claims are denied the first time they are reviewed, and most of the people who have been awarded Social Security Disability benefits had to file an appeal.
  • Don't stop going to doctor's appointments after you find out you are disabled. Many people become frustrated with medical treatment after they find out they are disabled, because they think a visit to a doctor can no longer help them. Doctors can help you control your symptoms and make sure your condition does not grow worse from medical inaction. Doctor's records are also the evidence the Social Security office uses when deciding whether or not to give you benefits. If your medical records have large gaps of time where you refused treatment, your claim is more likely to be denied.
  • Don't try to win an appeal once your claim has been denied without getting the help of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. If the Social Security office continues to deny your claim, then there will be hearings to attend and committees to convince. Trying to represent yourself without having a strong background in the rules and procedures of the Social Security Administration will only become more difficult the longer you wait. The Social Security office does accept claims without a lawyer becoming involved, but hiring a lawyer will improve your chances of receiving benefits.

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Social Security is attempting to cut off benefits that I've already been awarded. Do I have any options?

File an appeal right away. The Social Security office will send you a letter telling you they are going to stop paying Social Security Disability benefits. There are a variety of reasons why they might do this, but the reason doesn't matter. If you file an appeal within 10 days of receiving their letter, then, by law, they will have to continue to pay you your benefits while you complete the appeal process. If you don't file an appeal within 10 days, then your benefits will be stopped, but you will still have up to 60 days to file an appeal to have them restarted. File the appeal and then contact a lawyer. You will most likely need legal representation to permanently win back your Social Security Disability benefits. Residents of Greeley and other Colorado communities can contact The Law Offices of Cliff Enten to get free legal advice and make an appointment to have a lawyer evaluate their case.

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When can I appeal a denial of my claim?

You can always appeal the first denial of your claim. You can also appeal the denial of an appeal, but it will involve attending a hearing. Most Social Security Disability claims are initially denied. Most people who are sent a denial of their claim should appeal the denial and apply to have their claim reconsidered. If, after having your claim denied, you are beginning to have doubts about whether or not your claim is valid, ask for advice from a lawyer. Experienced Social Security Disability lawyers like the ones at the Law Offices of Cliff Enten can give you a professional opinion about whether or not your claim will eventually be accepted if you appeal a denial. Don't wait too long to get legal advice about an appeal, because there are deadlines for turning in the paperwork. A good test for whether or not you should appeal a denial is if you believe you honestly won't be able to work for over a year. Trust your own judgment. The Social Security office may not have considered all of the evidence. If you think they've made a mistake, then file an appeal. If you need free legal advice to help you make your decision, make an appointment to meet with Cliff Enten or one of his qualified associates. Contact our personal injury firm today to discuss your Social Security Disability claim with a member of our experienced team.

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