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Serving Louisiana and Mississippi - (504) 309.8230

401 Whitney Avenue Suite 405
Gretna, LA 70056

New Orleans Social Security Disability FAQs

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

It is not up to your doctor to determine whether you are disabled. It is up to Social Security to make their own decision, but your doctor's opinion definitely helps.

How long does it take to obtain my disability benefits once a claim for benefits is filed?

It can take approximately 4 months to receive a decision on your initial application. If your application is denied, it can take an additional 6 to 9 months to receive a decision as your claim works its way through the appeals process. However, certain circumstances can shorten that time period, so let our team determine if any are applicable to your case.

If I win my case, will I receive medical help in addition to cash benefits?

That depends. If you’ve been eligible for Social Security Disability for two years – whether you’ve actually received the benefits or not – you qualify for Medicare. If you’re awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you won’t receive Medicare, but rather Medicaid, a needs-based program that provides for a number of prescriptions and doctor visits each month.

What type of medical benefits/insurance will I receive?

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI), you will be eligible for Medicare coverage after a waiting period of 24 months.

If you are awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will be eligible for Medicaid coverage as soon as your entitlement to SSI begins.

When should I contact someone about representation?

You should contact someone before you file a claim with the Social Security Administration. Gary Sells can help you plan a strategy to win your case from the beginning. If you wait to get help after your claim has been denied, you may harm your case with different damaging statements or other information. This information can be used against you on appeal.

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 a testimony is taken under oath.

The hearing is private. The only people present will be the Administrative Law Judge and the hearing reporter, you, your representative, and any witnesses you may want to have present. Often the Administrative Law Judge may ask a vocational expert to testify about your past relevant work as well as other work that exists in the economy.

Medical records will be accepted as evidence. The Administrative Law Judge or your representative 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.

Why do I need a representative to help me?

Social Security statistics show that claimants who are represented win more often than those who are not represented. Your best chance of winning your case is to get representation.

What information will Gary Sells need?

When you come to our New Orleans-area office for your first meeting be sure to bring along any Denial Notices you have received from the Social Security Administration. If you have already applied for an appeal, bring the papers with you.

It would also be helpful if you bring the following information:

  • the names and addresses of all doctors you have seen for your problem
  • the approximate dates and number of times you have seen the doctors
  • the names and addresses of all hospitals where you have been treated as an inpatient or outpatient and the approximate dates
  • the names and addresses of your employers during the last fifteen years, dates of employment by each employer, and a brief description of your job duties
  • the name of each medication you are presently taking and the dosage, along with the name of the prescribing doctor

What are the biggest mistakes people make when trying to get disability benefits?

Failing to appeal. More than half of all claimants who are initially denied benefits do not appeal their case.

Another critical mistake is the failure to immediately get medical care. Medical records are your best offense and are your evidence in disability cases so it is essential that you see a doctor and continue to do so on a regular basis in order to chronicle the history of your disability.

I was denied. Should I appeal? What happens if Social Security denies my claim for disability benefits?

Now you file a written Request for Hearing within 60 days of the denial notice.

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 Administration's 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.

Can I get Social Security Disability benefits and Workers’ Compensation?

Workers' Compensation benefits can reduce your Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB). For example, lump sum Workers' Compensation settlements can be used to offset monthly SSDIB if not worded properly to reflect a pro-ration of the lump sum, for example, over the worker's life expectancy. Gary Sells and his staff can advise you or your Workers' Compensation attorney about the best wording of settlement documents, so you get the least offset against future SSDIB.

How much does it cost to hire Gary Sells for my Social Security claim? How can I afford help? What does Gary Sells get paid?

Gary Sells does not charge a fee unless you win your Social Security disability claim. Moreover, the fee is regulated by federal statute, and we charge 25% of your back benefits up to a maximum of $6,000.

If successful, we charge for getting medical records that Social Security did not obtain and special medical exams.

Why should I hire Gary Sells and Marcia Finkelstein?

Gary Sells has over 35 years of helping people win disability benefits in Louisiana and Mississippi. In fact, he’s helped thousands of people in the area. Let him help with your disability claim.

Marcia Finkelstein has over 35 years’ experience as an attorney. Many of those years were spent representing clients with occupational-related diseases. 

I’m interested in talking with Gary Sells? What should I do?

Contact our office today. We’ll arrange a free 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.

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