For individuals who have suffered severe injury or illness, maintaining employment and earning a living can become impossible. The loss of income can be financially devastating. If you or a loved one is facing similar circumstances, it may be time to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
In September of 2012 in Brevard County alone, 9,965 disabled individuals received SSI benefits while another 19,810 disabled individuals received SSDI benefits. While it may become necessary for you to file for disability benefits as well, it is important that you realize how difficult the application process may be.
To make the application process easier, there are two steps you should take. The first step is to research the different benefit options and to educate yourself of the application process. This will allow you to make informed decisions and play an active role in your quest for disability benefits. Learn more about the different benefit types here: Social Security Disability Programs
For answers to specific Social Security Disability questions, contact your local SSA field office at the following location:
2301 West Eau Gallie Boulevard
Melbourne, FL 32935
Hiring a Melbourne Disability Attorney
The second thing you can do to make the Social Security Disability application process easier is to hire legal representation. A Melbourne attorney or advocate will be able to guide you through the process and will prevent you from making any costly errors. For more information about the benefits of hiring an attorney visit this page: Social Security Disability Attorney or Advocate
A Melbourne attorney or advocate will handle claims in the following cities in Florida: West Melbourne, Palm Bay, Indian Harbour Beach, Satellite Beach, South Patrick Shores, Micco, Cocoa Beach, Rockledge, Sebastian, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Port Saint John, Merritt Island, Yeehaw Junction, and Vero Beach.
Contact the following bar association if you have questions about hiring a Melbourne Social Security Disability attorney or advocate:
Brevard County Bar Association
2627 West Eau Gallie Boulevard
Melbourne, FL 32935
Broward County Bar Association
1051 S.E. 3rd Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Indian River County Bar Association
P.O. Box 896
Vero Beach, FL 32961
Melbourne Disability Hearings
Although it can be helpful to have legal representation during the initial application, many applicants do not hire an attorney until they have to attend a disability appeal hearing. If you do not have an attorney or advocate and your claim proceeds to an appeal hearing, we strongly advise you to contact a Melbourne attorney.
Typically, during the appeal process, an applicant will have to appear in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This occurs at a hearing office—or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Because there is no ODAR in Melbourne, your appeal hearing will likely be held in the Fort Lauderdale office.
If you have to attend an appeal hearing, you and your attorney may find the following information to be useful:
These facts and statistics apply to the months between September 2012 and June 2013.
- 5,849 total hearings were scheduled to occur in the Fort Lauderdale office.
- 77.09% of the total hearings were resolved—approved, partially approved, or denied.
- The Fort Lauderdale hearing office has 14 ALJs.
- Each Fort Lauderdale ALJ decides an average of 2.3 hearings each day.
- As a whole, the Fort Lauderdale hearing office decides 32.2 hearings daily.
- 87.41% of hearings in the Fort Lauderdale office were held in person. The rest were held through video conference.
- In June, 2013 the Fort Lauderdale ODAR had a total of 11,480 pending cases and a wait time of 430 days.
When you call to schedule your appeal hearing, you may find that your hearing date is not for several months. Without income, it can be difficult to maintain your health or pay your bills during the wait for your hearing. If you find that you cannot possibly wait for your hearing, you should call your local congressperson. He or she has the power to request that the ODAR expedite your appeal hearing. While this may or may not work, it will not harm your claim in any way.
Fill out the following form for a free legal evaluation with a Melbourne attorney or advocate: