Hi, I’m Patrick Hartwig, over the years my staff and I have helped thousands of individuals just like you obtain the social security benefits they deserve. Every case, like every individual, is unique. And we strive to deliver the best service, coupled with the most up to date information to get you those benefits. 

Below are just a few of the many common myths we dispel every day. 

Myth 1– You Can NOT appeal your denial of Social Security benefits? 

You absolutely can. The Social Security Administration provides an appeal process that allows you to have your claim for disability and/or supplemental income reviewed several times. The first level of appeal is called Reconsideration. Another set of examiners will review your claim to determine whether the first examiners made a mistake. Most denials are not overturned at this level.  The second level of appeal is a Request for Hearing.  A hearing will be scheduled and you and your attorney (if you’ve hired an attorney) will plead your case before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge.  This level has the highest approval rate.  The third level of appeal is an appeal to the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council.  Unfortunately, the approval rate of appeals at this level is low.  The last level of appeal is an appeal to federal court.

Myth 2 – It’s the judge’s job to try his or her best to deny my case?

No. The judge’s job is to make a fair and impartial decision, based on all the evidence in your case, as to whether or not you are disabled. Although you may feel like the judge is “on the other side” during your hearing, know that the Social Security Administration technically does not have any representation at the hearing.

Myth 3 – My doctor says I’m disabled. So I should automatically qualify for Social Security benefits?

According to Social Security, you have to meet their standards of disability. These standards for determining disability are much stricter than your doctor’s standards. In order to be declared disabled by social security, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. You are not involved in any substantial gainful activity (In other words, you are not doing a job that earns you more than $1,220 per month in 2019)
  2. You have a severe mental or physical impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months
  3. You are unable to perform any past work
  4. You are unable to perform or to be trained to perform any other less demanding work

Myth 4 – I was told I must have an attorney help me with my case?

You are not required to have an attorney help you with your case. However, it is in your best interest to have an attorney help you with your appeal once your initial claim is denied. Social Security Disability Law is extremely complex and an attorney is readily equipped to navigate through the details of this intricate system. Although claimants who represent themselves sometimes win their cases, many more claimants lose because they do not receive the proper guidance from an attorney.

Myth 5 –  I was told I have to be receiving Social Security benefits to apply for Medicaid? 

No. This is a common myth. You can apply for Medicaid at any time and be approved for different reasons. One reason you may be approved is that you are disabled. Hence the myth that you must be receiving disability benefits in order to apply. You may not be approved, but you MAY apply. You should especially apply if you have children and have a low income. 

If you have additional questions about social security disability or would like to us to dispel any myths you might have about the process of obtaining benefits, call the Hartwig Law Firm today at 508-732-8989.