If you are a resident of Louisiana and you are unable to work because of a medical condition, you may qualify for disability benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA offers monthly disability benefits to disabled workers throughout the United States if they meet qualifying criteria and if they can provide supporting medical evidence.
You must be unable to work for at least 12 months. The monthly benefits can be used for medical care expenses and the basic living expenses you incur. Monthly disability benefits can affect your family’s finances.
Disability Benefits in Louisiana
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are a federal program, so disabled workers in every state can qualify. You can file for disability benefits at you local SSA field office in Louisiana. There are 24 field offices located throughout the state. Field offices are in Alexandria, Bastrop, Baton Rouge, De Ridder, Hammond, Houma, Kenner, Lacombe, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Leesville, Minden, Monroe, Morgan City, Natchitoches, New Iberia, New Orleans, Opelousas, Plaquemine, Roustin, Shreveport, and Terrytown.
Disability claim decisions are made by the Disability Determination Services office. They make claims decisions based off medical records, psychological and medical evidence, the statement of the applicant, continuing disability reviews, and other details.
The Louisiana Offices of Disability Determination Services are in Metairie, Shreveport, and Baton Rouge. Your claim will be assigned a disability examiner who will review the details of your claim and determine if you meet the criteria.
Your disability claim can be filed online, by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by scheduling an appointment at your local SSA field office. You will need to gather a detailed list of your medical providers, their contact information, and the approximate dates of service.
Documentation and evidence are essential to a disability claim’s success. Hard medical evidence to support your claim is a necessity, so you will need physician notes, exam records, pathology reports if applicable, imaging files, lab results, and surgical notes if applicable. Be sure you have all the medical details to support your claim.
Disability Statistics in Louisiana
Most disability claims are denied during the initial review. If that is the case, then you will need to file a request for reconsideration, which is also called an appeal. In Louisiana, only 39.3% of disability claims are approved during the initial review. Only 15.4% of claims are approved during the reconsideration phase.
The claim is more likely to be approved during the hearing. Every time your claim is denied, you should be notified in writing about the decision. The letter will also tell you how long you have so you can file an appeal. If you miss that deadline, your claim is dismissed, and you must start the process all over.
Louisiana Disability Hearings
Louisiana has four offices of Adjudication and Review, which is where an administrative law hearing is held. These offices are in Alexandria, Metairie, Shreveport, and New Orleans. You will be assigned to the hearing office that serves your specific area. It can take several months to get a hearing date.
When you go to your hearing, you will be asked about your condition and how you are limited. Usually, a vocational expert is in attendance and they can determine what kind of work you can do or if there is any work at all you are capable of doing. A disability attorney can be an asset during the hearing because he or she will be able to help you prepare for the questioning and can represent you during the hearing process.
Help Filing for Disability Benefits in Louisiana
A disability lawyer can be an asset to a disability claim. Reports from the SSA report that claimants represented by a lawyer may be more likely to be awarded disability benefits. A disability lawyer may be able to review your medical evidence and make sure you have all the supporting documentation that is needed to confirm your condition meets the criteria and qualifies for disability benefits.
Your lawyer can also prepare you for the hearing, helping you get ready for the questions you must answer. They can also represent you and provide answers and documentation for the judge throughout the hearing. If you are ready to apply for disability in Louisiana, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page and to get connected with an independent, participating attorney that subscribes to the website.