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4279 Lafayette Road
Indianapolis, IN 46254

Indianapolis Social Security Disability FAQs

My doctor says I am disabled so why is Social Security denying my disability claim?

Your doctor's opinion is important, but that alone does not qualify you for benefits. The Social Security Administration has its own criteria for determining disability.


 What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for people with little or no income and resources. Your SSI monthly amount is based on a financial need. It is also determined by different formulas that use such factors as total household income and your entitlement to a DIB benefit, long-term disability benefit or workers' compensation benefit.


 Social Security said that I would be able to return to work. Should I wait to see if my health improves or should I appeal?

You have a limited time to appeal your initial denial – don’t wait to see if your health improves. Contact The Law Offices of J. Frank Hanley II, Inc., today. Let our experience help win you the benefits you deserve.


 Why do I need a lawyer to help me? Why should I hire The Law Offices of J. Frank Hanley II, Inc.?

A lawyer can help you avoid common mistakes people make when applying or appealing. For example, if you make a mistake filling out the paperwork, it may be difficult to correct later on. The most cost-effective approach is often to hire a good attorney to walk you through the initial claim, so you have the best chance possible to win benefits.

Frank Hanley has practiced Social Security Disability law for over 43 years and has helped thousands of people in Indiana win benefits.


 How much does it cost to hire Frank Hanley for my Social Security Disability claim? How can I afford help? What does the firm get paid?

Federal law regulates attorneys’ fees in Social Security Disability cases. So, virtually every disability lawyer works on the same fee basis. The lawyer’s fee is 25% of the past due disability benefits you get – not to exceed $6,000. There is no fee if you lose.


 What are the important deadlines I need to watch?
  • INITIAL FILING —You need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits within a certain timeframe (usually five years) after you’re unable to work. However, every month you wait will reduce the total amount of benefits. If you wait longer than five years to apply, you may not qualify for any benefits. We strongly recommend that you apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you are unable to work.
  • APPEAL – The next important deadline is the appeal. If your initial claim is denied (and most are), you’ll only have 60 days from the date of your decision letter to file an appeal with Social Security. If you don’t file an appeal within 60 days, you give up your rights to the appeal process. Even worse, you’ll have to start the application process all over again. We strongly recommend you engage an attorney to help you file your appeal.
  • FEDERAL APPEAL – If your claim qualifies for benefits, but has been denied on appeal, it can still be appealed outside the Social Security system by appealing in Federal court.

 If I need to apply, what should I do?

First, you contact Social Security. Second, you will need to provide information on your medical conditions, treatment, medication, and work history. Then call our office for help with your application.


 What will happen at my hearing?

A hearing is conducted by the Office of Disability Adjudication & Review of the Social Security Administration. An Administrative Law Judge will preside over your case and testimony is taken under oath.

The hearing is also private. The only people present will be the Judge and the Judge’s assistant, you, your attorney, and any witnesses you may want to have present. Often the Judge may ask a vocational expert and/or medical expert to testify about your ability to work.

Medical records and a medical expert will be accepted as evidence. The Judge or your attorney will ask you about your present medical condition, medical history, abilities, education, training, work experience and the limitations in your daily life caused by your disability. You or your attorney may make a closing argument that you are entitled to benefits under Social Security.


 Is Frank Hanley very experienced in Social Security Disability?

Yes. Frank has over 43 years of experience practicing Social Security Disability Law. At The Law Offices of J. Frank Hanley II, Inc., Social Security Disability law is all we do.


 How can I improve my chances of winning my Social Security Disability claim?

Be completely honest with Social Security in their requests for information, both financial and medical.

Go to your doctors and treatment providers for two reasons. The first reason is for your health. The second reason is because Social Security bases its decisions on the medical evidence in your file. If you are not going for treatment, Social Security can assume that your condition is not severe enough to require treatment.

Don’t give up. It is very common for Social Security to deny claims; it is easy to become discouraged and believe it is useless to pursue your benefits. Your greatest chance to win your claim is at the hearing level, when a judge will personally meet with you and hear your complaints and problem.

It’s also important to hire an experienced attorney to represent you who understands Social Security’s rules and requirements. It is also important to do this at the earliest stage possible in your claim for Social Security


 Can I collect Social Security Disability benefits while I work?

Yes, as long as you don’t earn much. According to Social Security rules, you can collect Social Security Disability benefits if your income represents less than you could earn through Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The exact amount changes annually, and it depends on your disability, but in 2013, the maximum before taxes monthly income was $1,040 for most people, and $1,740 for the blind. The formulas can be complicated, however, so talk to a disability attorney before you start working. If your income is too high, your benefits could be denied altogether. It's best that you contact us for an evaluation of your situation, free of charge.


 How long do I have to wait after becoming disabled before I can file for Social Security Disability benefits?

You can file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Anyone who suffers a serious illness or injury and is expected to be out of work for a year or more should not delay in filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.


 Does my age matter when trying to receive disability benefits?

Yes. The Social Security Administration looks at age as one of the factors when determining disability. The administration evaluates age as follows:

    • 18-49 is a younger worker
    • 50-54 is closely approaching advanced age
    • 55-59 is advanced age
    • 60-64 is closely approaching retirement age.
    • The Social Security Administrations rules take into consideration that as people get older, they become less adaptable, less able to switch to different jobs to cope with health problems.

     Will The Law Offices of J. Frank Hanley II, Inc. represent me at a hearing if one is necessary?

    Yes. If it is necessary for you to attend a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, an attorney from Frank Hanley’s office will personally represent you.


     I’m interested in talking with The Law Offices of J. Frank Hanley II, Inc. What should I do next?

    Contact our office today. We’ll arrange a consultation to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do, we’ll help you start the proceedings for the best chance to win.


    Testimonials

     

       Mr. Hanley and staff, just wanted to let you know that my family and I appreciate and are thankful for your patience and law services.
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