The path to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Florida isn't always easy. For many of our clients, their first attempt at filing an SSD claim meets with disappointment — denials often stemming from technicalities or insufficient medical evidence.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our dedicated social security disability lawyers help our clients overcome these challenges, and we are committed to helping Floridians secure the SSD benefits they rightfully deserve.
Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Social Security Disability Claim?
Choosing the right legal team for your SSD claim can significantly impact the outcome. In Florida, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, stands out for several compelling reasons:
Our firm's dedication stems from a personal experience. Our founder's motivation originated from witnessing his father's struggles with inadequate legal representation. This background instills empathy for each client, driving us to ensure they feel heard, respected, and represented.
Track Record of Success
Our history of successful multi-million dollar settlements across various personal injury cases in Florida demonstrates our ability to get the outcomes our clients need.
Dolman Law Group is recognized within the Florida legal community, which is evident through our inclusion in the Florida Legal Elite and The National Trial Lawyers listings and our membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. These honors and being selected as Florida Super Lawyers speak volumes of our legal skill and dedication.
Local Insight with Nationwide Reach
Our roots in Florida and our nationwide presence allow us to offer excellent localized assistance to our clients. Our familiarity with Florida's legal system and our national network enables us to provide skilled legal support across the state and beyond.
SSD Compensation in Florida
We help our clients in Florida understand and maximize the different types of SSD benefits:
Monthly Disability Payments
In Florida, monthly disability payments through Social Security Disability are calculated based on your work history and contributions to the Social Security system.
The amount you can receive depends on how long you worked and your contribution through Social Security taxes during your employment.
- Basis of Calculation: Social Security Disability Insurance payments are primarily based on your contributions to the Social Security system, meaning how much you've paid in Social Security taxes during your employment years.
- Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME): The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates your benefit amount using the AIME formula. This formula determines your average earnings before your disability. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits pay out according to your AIME.
- Maximum Benefit Limit: The maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax in the previous year was $168,600. This cap implies that income exceeding this limit remains untaxed for Social Security purposes. Consequently, there is a maximum limit to the monthly SSDI benefits one can receive based on this taxable earnings cap.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we assist clients in understanding this calculation process. We assist them in accurately representing their work history and accounting for all eligible earnings. This detailed approach aims to maximize their SSD benefits, securing the financial support they're entitled to based on their work record.
Medicare and Medicaid Benefits
Medicare Part B enrollees are looking at a standard monthly premium of $164.90 and an annual deductible of $226. For hospital stays under Medicare Part A, the deductible is $1,600. The daily coinsurance for extended care in skilled nursing facilities is $200.
Florida's Medicaid program has specific eligibility criteria, which are especially important for those on SSD.
With Florida not adopting the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, you need a lawyer to explain these requirements:
- Residency and Legal Status: You must be a resident of Florida and a U.S. national, citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien.
- Healthcare Needs: Eligibility is contingent on needing health care or insurance assistance, typically due to low or very low income.
- Additional Qualifying Conditions: You must either be pregnant, responsible for a child 18 years or younger, blind, have a disability (or have a family member in your household with a disability), or be 65 years of age or older.
- Income Limits: Eligibility is also determined based on your annual household income (before taxes), with specific limits based on household size. For example, a single individual's income limit is $19,392 per year, while a two-person household has a limit of $26,228, and so on, increasing with each additional household member.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we're dedicated to guiding our clients through these details. Keeping up-to-date with changes in Medicare and the specific requirements of Florida Medicaid, we make sure our clients can access necessary medical care without undue financial burden.
We help identify eligible family members and assist in securing their benefits.
Here's a detailed look at current benefits:
- Eligible Family Members: When you start receiving SSD benefits, certain family members may qualify for benefits based on your work. This includes your spouse, divorced spouse, children, and adult children disabled before age 22.
- Benefit Amount: Each eligible family member may receive a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability benefit amount. However, there's a limit to the total amount your family can receive, which is generally about 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit.
- Spousal Benefits: Benefits are payable to your spouse if they are 62 or older unless they are eligible for a higher Social Security benefit based on their earnings record. Spouses of any age caring for a child under age 16 or disabled before age 22 and entitled to benefits are also eligible. If a spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on their record, they will receive that amount first. Still, if the benefit payable on your record is higher, they will receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher amount.
- Child Benefits: Children eligible for benefits on your record include your biological, adopted, or stepchildren and dependent grandchildren. To receive benefits, they must be unmarried, under age 18, 18-19 years old, and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12), or 18 or older and disabled from a disability that started before age 22. Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. Still, they can continue if the child is a full-time secondary or elementary school student at age 18 until they graduate or turn 19, whichever comes first.
We help SSD recipients in Florida ensure their eligible dependents receive the benefits they are entitled to. For personalized guidance, consult us at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA.
Back Pay and Retroactive Benefits
Back pay, and retroactive benefits compensate individuals for the time between the onset of their disability and the date their claim is approved.
Back pay is calculated from the date of your application to the date of approval. At the same time, retroactive benefits can cover up to 12 months before the application, based on when your disability started. Our attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, ensure clients receive all the compensation they're entitled to for this period.
Understanding and Navigating the SSA System in Florida
Navigating the Social Security Administration system for Social Security Disability claims in Florida can be confusing and challenging for those without experience seeking disability benefits.
Here's an overview of how the SSA system works in Florida, the steps to filing a claim, common difficulties encountered, and how Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, guides our clients through the process, advocates for them, and represents their interests.
Understanding the SSA System in Florida
The first step in applying for SSDI in Florida involves determining eligibility, which includes the severity and expected duration of the medical condition and sufficient work credits.
Gathering and organizing disability-related medical records is the next step. This includes medical documents like doctor's notes, test results, etc. These records must be readily available for SSA verification.
Determining eligibility and collecting medical records precede the filing of the initial claim. Applicants can apply online, by phone, or in person at a local SSA office. It involves submitting an application form and supplementary documentation about work history, day-to-day functioning, and medical treatment for the condition.
Post-application, the SSA evaluates the claim over several months and may request additional information or medical records. Upon reaching a decision, the applicant receives notification by mail.
Common Difficulties in the SSD Claim Process
There are several common difficulties that you might run into during the SSD claim process.
A lack of compelling medical evidence is a common reason for claim denials. SSA requires thorough documentation of the medical condition, its diagnosis, treatment history, and its impact on workability.
The SSA expects claimants to follow prescribed treatment plans. Failure to comply without valid reasons can lead to claim denial.
Inconsistencies or contradictions in statements, medical records, or application forms can also raise doubts about the claim's credibility.
Engaging in substantial gainful activity or having a disability expected to last less than 12 months can contribute to claim denials.
Errors made by SSA staff or judges during the application process can also lead to misunderstandings and claim denials.
Dolman Law Group's Role
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we provide guidance and representation throughout the SSD claim process.
Our role includes:
- Eligibility Assessment: We assist clients in understanding and establishing their eligibility for SSD benefits.
- Document Preparation: Our team helps gather and organize all necessary documentation, ensuring it is thorough and accurately reflects the client's condition.
- Application Filing: We guide clients through the application process, whether online, by phone, or in person, ensuring all forms are accurately completed and submitted.
- Claim Follow-Up: Our attorneys actively follow up with the SSA, responding promptly to requests for additional information and keeping our clients informed throughout the process.
- Appeal Representation: In case of claim denial, we represent clients in the appeals process, advocating for their rights and working towards a favorable outcome. We prepare and present a strong case, addressing any issues that led to the initial denial.
- Maximizing Chances of Approval: By preparing the application and addressing the common reasons for denials, we aim to maximize the chances of claim approval.
Completing the SSD claim process in Florida requires a thorough understanding of the SSA system, thorough preparation, and proactive advocacy. Dolman Law Group is dedicated to guiding our clients through every step, ensuring comprehensive representation and maximizing the success potential of their claims.
What to Do After an Accident
When recovering from an accident that leads to disability, we emphasize taking certain steps to not only aid in your recovery but also to build a strong foundation for an SSD claim.
- Follow Your Treatment Plans: Adhere to the treatment plans prescribed by healthcare providers. This includes taking all prescribed medications, attending all follow-up appointments, and completing recommended therapies or rehabilitation programs. Consistent follow-through on treatment plans not only aids in your recovery but also demonstrates to the SSA your commitment to getting better.
- Keep Your Medical Records: Document every aspect of your medical care. This includes keeping records of all medical visits, treatments, medications, and other healthcare-related activities. Keep copies of all medical reports, diagnostic tests, and treatment summaries. These records provide tangible evidence of the extent and impact of your disability.
- Keep a Daily Journal: A daily journal of your experiences during recovery can be incredibly valuable. In your journal, note your pain levels, mobility issues, emotional and mental health, and how the injury affects your daily activities and quality of life. This personal account offers a more nuanced view of how your disability impacts you, which can be compelling evidence in an SSD claim.
- Document Communication and Expenses: Keep a log of all communications related to your accident and disability, including interactions with insurance companies, healthcare providers, and employers. Also, track all expenses related to your injury, including medical bills, medication costs, travel expenses for medical appointments, and any modifications to your home or vehicle due to your disability.
By following these steps, you improve your chances of recovery and strengthen your SSD claim. This detailed and organized approach makes the process smoother and increases the likelihood of a successful claim.
Contact Our Florida Social Security Disability Lawyers
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we aim to be the firm we will choose for our families. Understanding the physical, emotional, and financial tolls of a disability, we help alleviate some of that burden by guiding you through the SSD claims process. We also collaborate with local counsel outside of Florida so you can have comprehensive support wherever you are.
If you face challenges with your SSD claim in Florida, please contact us at (727) 451-6900 for your free consultation.