Tampa Social Security Disability Lawyer

Are you struggling with a permanent disability in Tampa, FL? Was your application for Social Security disability benefits denied? You aren’t alone. An experienced Tampa Social Security disability lawyer at Catania & Catania, P.A., can help you fight for the benefits you need and deserve. 

Since 1992, we’ve recovered more than $500 million for our injured clients across the Tampa Bay area. We’d be happy to put that experience to work in your case.

Are you interested in learning more? Contact our law offices in Tampa, Florida at (813) 222-8545 to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer who can help you fight back.

How Catania & Catania, P.A. Can Help With a Social Security Disability Claim in Tampa

How Catania & Catania, P.A. Can Help With a Social Security Disability Claim in Tampa

You’ve worked hard to earn a living. Now, you’re suffering from a serious disability that prevents you from working. You may know that you’re entitled to government benefits–but it can be difficult to know exactly how to obtain those benefits.

The majority of Social Security disability claims are initially denied. You’ll need an experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer to help you get your application approved.

At Catania & Catania, P.A., we have over 120 years of experience helping families when they need it the most. When you hire us to represent you, your lawyer will:

  • Obtain all medical evidence to support your claim
  • Prepare your claim so that it’s complete and accurate
  • Handle all communications with the Social Security insurance company
  • Represent your interests at the hearing and appeals stage

Many applicants for disability benefits give up hope when their initial claim is denied. You don’t have to stop fighting for the benefits you deserve. 

Our Tampa personal injury attorneys know the Social Security system inside and out. We can review your case for free to help you understand why a claim may have been denied. If you haven’t filed a claim, we’ll do everything possible to help you get your claim approved.

To get help with the claims process, call for a free consultation today.

Overview of the Social Security Disability Laws in Tampa, Florida

In addition to retirement income benefits, Social Security provides money for Americans struggling with disabilities. Social Security disability benefits are available via two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI pays benefits to applicants who are under the age of 65 and suffering from a qualifying disability. These benefits are available only to people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a sufficient period of time prior to the disability.

SSI is an income-based program to help recipients cover the cost of food, shelter, and basic needs. It pays cash benefits to people who are blind, disabled or over age 65. To qualify, you’ll have to demonstrate that you have little or no income.

What Types of Benefits Are Available to Social Security Disability Recipients in Tampa?

SSDI provides cash benefits to qualifying individuals. However, there are a few types of SSDI programs that offer benefits to people based on their circumstances.

The various types of benefits available through the Social Security insurance program include:

  • Direct SSI or SSDI cash benefits to workers who suffer from qualifying disabilities
  • Widow and widower benefits, if the recipient is over age 50 and becomes disabled within seven years after a spouse’s death
  • Disabled adult children (DAC) benefits for individuals between ages 18 and 22, if their parents have died or are also receiving SSI or SSDI benefits

Our attorneys can help you determine whether you qualify for these and other benefits. To learn more about the process and how we can help, call our law firm for a free case evaluation today.

Am I Eligible To File a Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits?

You’ll have to satisfy two primary tests in order to successfully claim Social Security disability benefits. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must:

  • Suffer from a qualifying physical or mental disability
  • Prove that you’ve earned sufficient work credits prior to becoming disabled

Establishing these requirements is extremely challenging. Most initial applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies as many as 80% of all initial applications.

With an experienced Tampa Social Security disability attorney by your side, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success. To learn more about how our lawyers at Catania & Catania, P.A., can help with your SSDI or SSI claim, give us a quick call today.

What Is a Qualifying Disability for Social Security Disability Purposes?

Florida workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to anyone who can’t work because of a job-related illness or injury. 

Federal SSDI benefits are different. Only individuals who suffer from the most serious disabilities will qualify for Social Security benefits. Generally, you must provide medical evidence that you are totally and permanently disabled to receive SSDI benefits.

There are a few factors that are used to determine whether you suffer from a qualifying disability, including:

  • Your average monthly earnings: you’re unable to receive Social Security disability benefits if you earn an average of $1,310 per month in 2021
  • Your condition must significantly limit your ability to perform basic work activities for at least a 12-month period
  • Your condition must be on the list of SSA qualifying conditions
  • If your condition is not on the SSA list of qualifying conditions, you must prove that you can’t perform the work you did prior to the disability 

You’ll also have to prove that you can’t perform any other type of work. In determining whether you’re unable to work, the SSA will consider your age, life expectancy, education, and any skills you have.

Some examples of the types of disabilities on the SSA list of qualifying conditions include: 

  • Traumatic brain injury 
  • Cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and coronary artery disease
  • Serious neurological diseases
  • Blindness and other severe vision problems
  • Immune system disorders
  • Arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other musculoskeletal diseases
  • Chronic pain
  • PTSD
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Respiratory illnesses, such as COPD
  • Digestive system disorders, including gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatic dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, and malnutrition

The SSA requires detailed medical evidence before your application will be approved. Our attorneys can work with your doctors to provide the required documentation. We’ll make sure your initial application is complete and correct.

Have I Earned Sufficient Work Credits To Qualify for SSDI?

SSDI benefits are only available to individuals with a significant and recent work history. Most disabled workers will need 40 work credits. If you’re age 31 or older, you’ll also have to demonstrate that you earned 20 of those work credits in the past 10 years.

You may need fewer work credits if you were disabled at a younger age. For example, if you were disabled before age 24, you can qualify if you have six work credits that were earned in the three-year period before your disability.

In 2021, individuals earn one work credit for every $1,470 in wages or self-employment income. You can only earn four work credits each year regardless of your income level.

What Can I Do If My Social Security Disability Application Was Denied?

Most initial SSDI applications are denied. Often, that’s because the SSA needs more information before they can approve your request. You have the right to appeal the initial decision and request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Your attorney can speak on your behalf at the hearing.

At the ALJ hearing, you can expect the judge to:

  • Explain why your initial application was denied
  • Request additional medical information
  • Bring in witnesses and listen to testimony about your disability
  • Ask medical experts and vocational specialists to testify
  • Issue a written decision based on all evidence in your disability case

If the ALJ denies your disability application after the hearing, don’t give up hope. At this stage, you can request reconsideration in federal district court. Many applications aren’t approved until you file a claim in federal court.

Do you have questions about why your disability application was denied? Call our lawyers in Tampa for a free case review today. We’ve successfully handled cases like yours before and would be happy to help.

If the SSA denies your initial application, you must request an ALJ hearing within 60 days. If your request is denied again, you’ll have another 60-day period to file a request for reconsideration.

Missing the 60-day deadline has serious consequences. It’s possible that your benefits claim could be dismissed entirely. However, if you can show that you have a good reason for missing the deadline, the judge may give you more time.

Contact a Tampa Social Security Disability Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be overwhelming–and it’s very likely that your initial claim will be rejected. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle your case alone. To get the legal advice you need, call a Tampa Social Security disability lawyer at Catania & Catania, P.A. to schedule a free consultation today.