If you are a resident of Gainesville, FL and can no longer work due to severe illness or injury, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. In Alachua County alone, there were 5,290 SSI disability benefit recipients and 5,800 SSDI benefit recipients as of September 2012. If you find that you also need to file for disability benefits, there are steps you can take to make the process easier for yourself.
The first thing you should do is to research the two types of disability benefits—SSI and SSDI. Find which program (or programs) is the best fit for you. Being knowledgeable about the different benefits and the application process will allow you to make educated decisions about your claim and your finances.
You can find information about SSI and SSDI on the following page: Social Security Programs.
If you would like to make further inquiries about Social Security Disability benefits, contact the following Gainesville field office:
1610 Northwest 23rd Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32605-3021
Telephone: (352) 375-4178
Hiring a Gainesville Disability Attorney
The second step you should take to ensure the success of your claim is to retain the services of a qualified Gainesville attorney or advocate. A legal professional such as an attorney or advocate will be very familiar with all stages of the Social Security Disability application process. He or she will be able to help you navigate the system and submit a completely error-free application. Click here to learn more about the benefits of hiring legal representation during the disability application.
A Gainesville Social Security Disability lawyer will also handle disability claims in the following cities located in Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Dixie County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Union County, Bradford County: Newbury, High Springs, Trenton, Worthington Springs, La Crosse, Earleton, Keystone Heights, Waldo, High Springs, Lake City, Starke, Palatka, Crescent City, Ocala, Cross City, and Hawthorne.
If you have any questions about the lawyers near you, contact one of the following bar associations:
Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association
PO Box 13924
Gainesville, FL 32604
The Jacksonville Bar Association
841 Prudential Drive, Suite 1320
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Jacksonville Beaches Bar Association
President Bryan C Goode
320 1st St N Ste 613
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250
Gainesville Disability Hearings
While some applicants find it useful to have an attorney present for all parts of the application procedures, many prefer to wait until they are required to attend a disability appeal hearing. Although we suggest having an attorney whenever possible, we really encourage applicants to hire a legal professional during the appeals process.
If you are not familiar with the appeals process, it typically requires the applicant to appear in front of an ALJ—or Administrative Law Judge—in an Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Currently there is no hearing office in Gainesville. For this reason, Gainesville residents will likely have their hearings held in the Jacksonville, FL ODAR.
If you are currently appealing a denial or find that you have to in the future, the following statistics may be helpful:
Please note that the following information applies to the time period between September 2012 and June 2013.
- The Jacksonville hearing office had 4,915 hearings scheduled in the given time period.
- 80.71% of these hearings ended up resolved—this means that they were either approved, denied, or partially approved.
- The Jacksonville ODAR employs 15 Administrative Law Judges.
- Each Judge decides about 1.8 hearings daily.
- The Jacksonville ODAR, as a whole, determines about 27 hearings daily.
- 75.14% of all hearings held in Jacksonville were conducted in person. The rest were held using video conferencing technology.
- As of June, 2013 the Jacksonville ODAR had 9,782 pending cases and a 427 day wait time.
While this information may be unimportant, you and your legal representation may want to revisit these facts if your claim ever requires an appeal hearing.
A common issue that arises for many applicants occurs while waiting for their scheduled hearing date. Being out of work often causes financial or medical distress. If you find that your health is failing or that you cannot pay your bills, we suggest you contact your local congressperson to request that he or she intervenes with the ODAR on your behalf. If this is successful, your hearing date will be moved up.
Fill out the following form for a free legal evaluation with a Gainesville lawyer or advocate: