How an Attorney Can Help You Appeal Your SSD Case in Minnesota

If medical problems have made it difficult for you to work and you cannot earn a living, you might be able to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two disability programs that have very strict criteria that must be met for approval. Your condition must be serious enough to last a year or longer or to lead to your death.

Specific medical criteria, which are listed in the medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, must also be met. Most claims are denied on the initial level, but an appeal can be filed to get reconsideration. If a reconsideration is denied, then file an appeal to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).

While claims are denied for numerous reasons, there are a few common reasons that claims are not approved. The main reason for a claim denial is that there is not enough convincing or hard medical evidence to show that your condition is severe enough to keep you from working.

In other cases, it might be that the individual is still working enough to earn more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limits or that the individual failed to continue with follow-up treatment. In Minnesota, about 30.4% of disability claims get approved on the initial review, which is slightly lower than the 32.1% national average. In Minnesota, the reconsideration appeal approval rate is 8.8% while the hearing rate approval level is 57.2%.

Disability benefits in Minnesota

Visiting the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Minnesota

If your claim gets denied, you will need to file an appeal. After an appeal, your claim will go into reconsideration review. If the reconsideration is denied, your claim will then be considered before an ALJ at a hearing. Hearings are held at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR).

During the hearing, you will be questioned by the ALJ and a vocational expert as well. You will be questioned about your specific medical problems and how they affect your ability to work. Your work history, educational level, medical problems, age, and skills will all be considered to determine if you can perform any kind of work. In Minnesota, it takes an average of 21 months to get a hearing and there is an average 574-day processing of claims. About 47% of claims are approved on the hearing level, which is higher than the 45% national average.

The state of Minnesota has one ODAR, which is in Minneapolis. That ODAR is staffed with 11 judges. There are 20% of cases dismissed there and 33% of cases denied at that office. A Social Security attorney can help you get ready for the hearing by preparing you for questioning that is specific to your condition. The figures for the Minneapolis ODAR are not very far off from the national averages for those applying for disability benefits.

Your attorney will represent you at the hearing and help you get all evidence and documentation ready.

Getting Help from an Attorney

Disability claims are very complex. You should enlist the help of an attorney early on. A lawyer can help you get your claim filed. Your attorney will handle communications with SSA representatives and Disability Determination Services (DDS) to make sure they have access to all your medical records and documentation.

In addition, your attorney might visit the local SSA office or DDS to review your file and make sure all the pertinent information is in there and ready for review. Your lawyer wants to make sure that the SSA has access to documents so they can make a fair determination in regards to your condition and your ability to work. Your attorney will also file any appeals and prepare you for the next review.

In Minnesota, there are several SSA offices:

Social Security Administration
404 2nd Street NW
Austin, MN 55912
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Social Security Administration
8331 Brandon Road
Baxter, MN 56425
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Social Security Administration
1811 Chicago Avenue Suite 1
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

You can start your disability claim online at the Social Security Administration website, or by calling 800-772-1213, or by visiting your local SSA office. You should consult with an attorney right away. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page so your details can be shared with a Social Security attorney.

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