Top-Rated Social Security Disability Lawyers in Richmond, VA
We Provide the Legal Assistance You Need to Obtain the Social Security Disability Benefits You Deserve
Welcome to my website. I’m Corey Pollard, a disability attorney in Richmond, Virginia. And I’m here to help you and your family throughout the Social Security Disability claims process.
There are two possible reasons that you are viewing this website. Either you are unable to work because of a disabling medical condition or someone you know and love is disabled and you are overwhelmed trying to help them navigate the Social Security Disability process.
Take a deep breath. Our disability lawyers can help.
We understand that being disabled is often a terrifying experience. In addition to worrying about paying your medical bills and obtaining medical care, you are likely also wondering how you will continue to support your family if you cannot return to work.
The good news is that you have options. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides different types of benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of their physical or mental conditions and are in need of income. These disability benefit programs include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The bad news is that navigating the disability process successfully is difficult. Many SSDI and SSI claimants receive denials. But our Virginia disability lawyers will not let you take on the SSA alone. We are here to fight for you from start to finish – doing everything we can to prove that you have a disability that prevents you from working. We will take your claim through all the steps of the disability appeals process is necessary.
For a free consultation with a top-rated Social Security disability attorney in Richmond, give us a call: 804-251-1620.
What You Need to Know About Social Security Disability
If you are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability, there are some important things you should know about your rights under Social Security Disability:
- The SSDI and SSI programs exist to help people who are unable to work and to earn sufficient income due to their medical impairments.
- If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be eligible for both Virginia workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability.
- Having your disability claim denied is not the end of the claims process. Many claimants receive denials before appealing and winning their Social Security disability claims. So remember, you have options available to help you get the disability benefits you need and deserve.
As your disability lawyers, we are here to guide you through every step of your Social Security disability claim.
Are You Unable to Work Due to a Disability?
If you are unable to work due to a medical condition, you may be entitled to disability benefits through the SSA. But recovering these benefits is not simple or easy. You must prove that you meet Social Security’s definition of disability using medical, vocational, and educational documentation, as well as your testimony and statements from other witnesses.
Though it may be easy to establish your work history and past income, it is often difficult to prove that you suffer from a medical condition that affects your ability to work full-time to the degree the SSA requires. There is no such thing as temporary or partial disability under the Social Security Act, so you must prove not only that you’re unable to return to any of your past jobs due to your disability, but also that there is no other job that you can perform physically or mentally based on your age, education, and acquired job skills.
To determine whether you have a medical condition that disables you, the SSA will review your case and the medical evidence using a document called “The Blue Book.” The Social Security Blue Book contains a listing of disabling impairments. If you meet the specific criteria listed in the Blue Book for your condition, then the SSA will find that you are disabled. You can be found disabled if you do not meet the criteria in the Blue Book, but you will have to prove that the combination of your impairments cause symptoms that are disabling and prevent you from working.
The SSA’s disability evaluation does not end if it finds that you are disabled medically. You must also meet the non-medical requirements of the SSDI and SSI programs. To qualify for SSDI you must have enough work credits. How many work credits you need to receive SSDI depends on your age. If you do not have enough work credits for SSDI, you may be entitled to SSI if you have low income and limited assets.
Many people try to file a Social Security disability claim on their own. But we recommend you contact our experienced disability lawyers before you submit your initial application to the SSA. We can help you get approved early in the process by reviewing your claim and helping you develop the medical evidence before filing. Our goal is to help you win your case without having to go through the entire appeals process.
What if the SSA Denied My Social Security Disability Claim?
The majority of individuals receive a denial letter after filing their initial claim for SSDI or SSI benefits – even if they qualify medically. In fact, many clients come to us for help after trying to navigate the disability claims process on their own but receiving a denial. The good news is that we can help. The SSA denial letter is not the end of the process for benefits. And we are often able to help clients get the SSDI and SSI benefits they deserve after the SSA denied their claim.
After you receive a denial letter, you have 60 days to file a request for reconsideration or request for hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). Successful applications and appeals require detailed documentation and supportive evidence from treating physicians. This means you should contact us as soon as possible after you receive a disability benefits appeal. If you miss the appeal deadline you will have to file a new application, which reduces the amount of back pay you may be owed when we win your SSDI or SSI claim for you.
Many disability claims are denied at the reconsideration stage, but we have our greatest success at the ALJ disability hearing. At the hearing we have the opportunity to present the evidence that supports your disability claim to the ALJ who then decides your case. The hearing is the opportunity to tell your story and explain the theory of your case for disability benefits.
The Social Security disability appeals process is often long and frustrating, but our disability lawyers will be in your corner from beginning to end.
Social Security Disability Frequently Asked Questions
Richmond SSDI attorney Corey Pollard helps adults and children get the disability benefits they deserve. When you contact us, we will explain all aspects of the Social Security claim process, including:
Who is eligible for Social Security disability?
You may be entitled to two types of Social Security disability benefits. Our disability attorneys will guide you through the claims process for both programs.
SSDI is the first disability program. It is for people who have worked and paid FICA taxes during their lifetime, but who are now unable to work full-time because of a physical or mental disability. As a general rule you must prove that you meet the SSA’s definition of disability within five years of the date you last worked continuously.
Under the SSDI program, there are three categories of individuals who can qualify for benefits based on their disability:
- A disabled insured worker who has not reached full retirement age
- An individual who has been disabled since childhood and who is a dependent of a parent who is entitled to SSDI benefits or Social Security retirement benefits.
- A disabled widow or widower, between the ages of 50 and 60, whose deceased spouse was insured under the SSDI program.
SSI is the second disability program. The medical definition of disability is the same for both the SSDI and SSI programs, but individuals seeking SSI benefits must have low income and limited assets.
How Does the Social Security Administration Define Disability?
To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits under either the SSDI or SSI program, you must have a medical condition or a combination of medical conditions that meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.
You meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability if:
- You have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that are severe; and,
- Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or to result in your death; and,
- Your medical impairments prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
As you can see, there is no such thing as temporary or partial disability under the Social Security Act.
Substantial gainful activity (SGA) refers to income received for work activity. If you earn above the SGA level for a given year, then you will not be considered disabled, even if your medical impairments are severe. In 2017 the SGA level was $1,170 per month for non-blind individuals
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability in Virginia?
So you’ve decided to apply for disability benefits, now what?
Gather all information and documents you have from the past 10 years concerning your medical treatment, employment status, and any other benefits you have received, such as workers’ compensation, veterans’ disability (VA), or long term disability benefits.
When you have all your information, you can choose to submit your disability application in one of the following ways:
- By using the SSA’s website to complete the online application form.
- By calling the SSA, then mailing in your documents.
- By making an in-person appointment at the nearest SSA office.
Gathering the necessary documents and information and completing your SSD application may take several hours. Richmond disability attorney Corey Pollard can help you complete an accurate Social Security benefits application that gives you the best chance of success.
What Medical Conditions Qualify Someone to Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
Our disability lawyers have helped adults and children with every medical condition you can think of get approved for SSDI and SSI benefits in Virginia and elsewhere. We can help you get the benefits you deserve if your mental illness, workplace injury, neurological problem, cancer, or physical impairment prevents you from earning a living.
What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?
The main difference between SSDI and SSI benefits has to do with work requirements and other non-medical factors.
SSDI benefits are based on your work history. You must have earned enough “work credits” to receive these benefits. If you are disabled now, but do not prove disability before the date you were last insured under the SSDI program, then your claim will be denied.
SSI benefits are not based on your work history. Rather, they are based on financial need and your available assets and resources. To qualify for SSI benefits you must have less than $2,000 in assets and resources. The number is higher for married couples.
If you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits then you may be eligible for SSI benefits. Our disability attorneys can review your situation and help you determine all available legal options.
Can Children Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
Yes. Disabled children may qualify for SSI benefits. Our disability lawyers have helped families apply for and appeal denials of claims for SSI benefits for children with a range of disabilities and impairments.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Decision on My Social Security Disability Claim?
You should receive a decision within a few months of submitting your SSDI or SSI benefits claim.
You can speed up the process by working with a disability lawyer who makes sure that your application is accurate and that you have included supportive documentation, such as a statement from your treating physician.
If DDS is unable to make a decision on the information you have submitted, then it may ask you to attend a consultative examination. If you are scheduled for a consultative examination, then it may take longer to get a decision.
If your claim is denied and you appeal, which you should, then it may take many more months or even years to get a decision in your case. The wait time can be frustrating and overwhelming. But don’t let it stop you from pursuing the disability benefits you deserve. Continue to receive medical treatment while you wait for a decision. And let our Virginia disability lawyer help you get approved.
Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability if My Doctor Says I’m Disabled?
A statement from your doctor that says you are disabled is not enough to qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. The doctor needs to provide specific opinions regarding your capabilities and explain the reasoning behind those opinions. Further, the underlying medical records, including objective diagnostic testing and lab reports, should provide support for the opinions. If your doctor’s opinion statement is inconsistent with his or her medical reports fro your office visits, then the SSA may ignore the doctor’s opinion.
When Do Social Security Disability Benefits Begin if I am Approved?
If you are receiving disability benefits through the SSDI program, you should receive benefits within one month of receiving the decision approving your case.
If you are receiving disability benefits through the SSI program, it could take six to eight weeks for your benefits to start. This is because your local Social Security office processes those payments, so there is additional processing time.
If you are receiving disability benefits through both the SSDI and SSI programs, it may take three months for your benefits to start because the SSA will have to make offset calculations.
In addition to answering these questions, SSDI attorney Corey Pollard and the disability lawyers at our law firm will develop all relevant evidence and prepare you for hearing. You will know what to expect at the hearing and how to answer the questions to give yourself the best chance of success. We are here for you throughout your Social Security claim.
Social Security Disability Lawyers in Richmond, Virginia
Social Security disability attorney Corey Pollard and the disability lawyers at our firm have secured favorable decisions for thousands of clients throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and West Virginia. We are proud to have disability attorneys who are experts in Social Security law – including the rules and regulations that govern your claims – and who care about our clients’ well being.
We understand that a physical or mental disability can change your life forever. That’s why our disability attorneys will do everything we can to help you get the benefits you deserve. We are here to fight for you. This includes handling all paperwork, communicating with your doctors and collecting important medical records and reports that are necessary to win your SSDI or SSI claim, and representing you at hearing. We believe you should focus on your health and family while we try to get you the disability benefits you deserve.
Our Richmond, Virginia Social Security disability law firm handles all SSDI and SSI cases on a contingency basis. We do not charge a fee unless you obtain benefits.
Ready to have an experienced and skill disability lawyer on your side? Contact a Virginia Social Security disability attorney in Richmond at 804-251-1620. We are ready to help you get the cash payments and medical coverage you need to move forward with your life.