Thousands of disabled workers in Whittier, California, apply for Social Security Disability benefits each year. Even after paying into the Social Security system while working, most of these individuals will have to endure a lengthy, stressful wait before being awarded the benefits they’re entitled to – if they are even approved to receive them at all. Only 30% of Social Security Disability applicants nationwide are granted benefits at the initial stage of the application process.
The other 70% are required to file a Request for Reconsideration, which is the first step in the Social Security Administration’s appeals process. If you’re applying for disability benefits in the Whittier, California area, hiring a qualified Whittier Social Security Disability lawyer can increase the chances that you’ll be one of the 30% who is not forced to go through these confusing appeals procedures.
About Whittier, California
Located just over 10 miles southeast of Los Angeles, Whittier, California is a city of nearly 86,000 residents that was named after a Quaker poet. The education and health care industries play a strong role in the Whittier economy, with the Whittier Hospital-Medical Center, Whittier Union High School, and the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital providing employment for many Whittier residents.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA,) approximately 3% of California residents are currently disabled and receiving Social Security benefits, and their average monthly payment is $1,098. However, if an employee in Whittier becomes unable to work for a year or more due to illness or injury, they may be surprised at how difficult it can be to actually obtain Social Security Disability benefits. Those who do eventually get granted benefits often have to wait until the third stage of the process, the administrative law judge hearing, before their benefits are awarded. It’s not uncommon for these hearings to take place two years or more after the disabled worker first completed their application for Social Security Disability Inruance or Supplemental Security Income.
Although the median household income in Whittier is $48,256, the cost-of-living is a whopping 49.2% higher than the national average, which makes it even more difficult for disabled workers in Whittier to support themselves and their families during this lengthy wait.
Applying for Benefits in Whittier, California
If you are applying for benefits in the Whittier area, and file a Request for Administrative Law Judge Hearing, which is the next step after receiving a denial at reconsideration level, a SSA office in Los Angeles will be responsible for scheduling this hearing. The average wait for a hearing being scheduled out of this office is nearly a year, at 341 days. If you are a disabled worker who is currently waiting for an administrative law judge hearing, it could be a very good idea to consult a knowledgeable Whittier Social Security attorney.
There are many things that can be done to improve the chances of your disability hearing resulting in a favorable decision, but many of these are actions that can be difficult for a disabled worker to complete on their own, such as closely reviewing all medical records to identify the most relevant portions, drafting a brief to the judge, obtaining written statements from doctors, and ensuring that the SSA has any other relevant evidence. When the day of your hearing finally comes, it can be very helpful to have your Whittier disability attorney there to help you explain your situation to the judge and cross examine any witnesses that the SSA hired to appear at your hearing, such as a doctor or medical expert.
Social Security Disability Attorneys in Whittier, California
If you’re disabled and unable to work, the cost of hiring a Whittier disability lawyer is likely a concern. Luckily, a California disability attorney is paid on a contingency basis. This means that they are only paid if your application for benefits is approved. If your benefits aren’t granted at any stage in the process, your Whittier Social Security attorney is not paid. If your benefits are granted, their fee will consist of 25% of the amount you are paid in back benefits, if the SSA determines that you were disabled as of a date in the past. The maximum fee that your attorney can be paid is $6,000.
There are two additional levels of appeal that can be pursued if the Administrative Law Judge does not grant your application for benefits. These are a review by the Appeals Council, and the filing of a case in Federal court. However, only a very small percentage of claims that progress to these levels are granted.
Therefore, it is imperative to do everything possible to increase the chances of your disability hearing resulting in a favorable outcome. If you do pursue a claim at appeals council or in Federal court, it is absolutely essential to retain a skilled Whittier disability attorney, as success will likely require presenting legal (versus factual) arguments.
A Whittier Social Security lawyer will also handle claims for other disabled Los Angeles county workers, as well as those in San Bernardino, Ventura, and Orange counties, and cities such as Montebello, Santa Fe Springs, Hacienda Heights, Avocado Heights, Downey, El Monte, Pico Rivera, and La Puente.