Lakeland, FL, located in Polk County, is home to a number of Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyers and advocates who are available to help disabled individuals throughout the SSD application procedures. In fact, these legal professionals had a hand in helping the current 17,512 SSI recipients and the 22,750 SSDI recipients to receive their benefits.
Learn more about the SSI and SSDI benefit programs here or contact your local Social Security office. The Lakeland office can be reached using the following address or telephone number:
550 Commerce Drive
Lakeland, FL 33813
Hiring a Lakeland Disability Attorney or Advocate
Many SSD applicants wait until their initial application is denied before they contact an attorney or advocate. While this is completely acceptable, it may be worth it to do so prior to submitting your initial application. A lawyer who is well-versed in SSD benefits will ensure that your application is submitted completely and accurately.
You can find more information about hiring an attorney or advocate, here.
It is also helpful to note that a Lakeland SSD attorney will also handle disability claims in the following Florida cities: Winston, Lakeland Highlands, Auburndale, Plant City, Bartow, Winter Haven, Cypress Gardens, Zephyrhills, Bloomingdale, Haines City, Brandon, Mango, Lake Wales, Temple Terrace, and Tampa.
If you have any questions about the legal assistance available in the Lakeland area, contact a local Bar Associations. We have listed several below:
Lakeland Bar Association
Executive Director Lisa Oliver
P. O. Box 2883
Tampa, FL 33806
Carrollwood Community Bar Association
1319 W. Fletcher Ave.
Tampa, FL 33612
Federal Bar Association (Tampa Bay Chapter)
President Kevin Johnson
201 N. Franklin St., Ste. 1600
Tampa, Florida 33602
Lakeland Disability Hearings
If your initial application is denied, you will have 60 days in which to file an appeal. At this time, if you do not already have an attorney or advocate, it may be in your best interest to hire one. A legal professional can really increase your chances of being approved. It is important to note that you will not have to pay your lawyer unless you are actually awarded benefits. Even then—the Social Security Administration puts a limit on how much SSD attorneys are allowed to charge.
The appeals process typically requires an appearance in front of an Administrative Law Judge—or ALJ—at a local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Presently, there is no ODAR located in Lakeland. For this reason, Lakeland residents will likely attend disability hearings at the Tampa ODAR. Listed below are facts and figures intended to provide you with an understanding of how this ODAR works.
Keep in mind that these statistics apply to the time period between September 2012 and June 2013.
- The Tampa office scheduled a total of 5,834 disability appeal hearings in the given time period.
- 83.17% of these hearings were resolved—meaning that the applicant ended up being approved, partially approved, or denied.
- The Tampa ODAR employs 16 ALJs.
- In the specified months, each ALJ handled—on average—2 dispositions per day.
- In the specified months, the entire Tampa office handled—on average—32 dispositions per day.
- 99.28% of the hearings held in the Tampa ODAR were held in person. The rest of the hearings were handled using video conferencing.
- As of June, 2013 the Tampa ODAR had 11,080 pending cases and a 458 day wait time.
Although this information may be insignificant to you now, it may come in handy if your claim should proceed to an appeal hearing.
As mentioned, the wait for the next available appeal hearing may be several months. If medical or financial circumstances make it impossible for you to wait for your hearing, you can request a congressional intervention. This essentially means that you explain your circumstances to your local congressperson and if he or she chooses, they can intervene with the ODAR on your behalf to speed up your appeal hearing. Although this is not guaranteed to work, it will not negatively impact your claim.
Complete the following form to receive a free legal evaluation with a Lakeland lawyer or advocate