Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Personal Injury Laws in Indiana
Below are the answers to common initial questions many clients have when they first contact Keller and Keller. We hope that the information below address many initial concerns you may have, but if you don't find the answers here, please contact us with questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
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What do I do if Social Security denies my claim for Social Security disability benefits?
First, don't be surprised or too upset. The majority of Social Security disability benefits claims are denied at the initial level. (Initial denials is a way to help SSA weed out the fraudulent claims.)
If you have received an initial denial, Social Security law provides for several levels of appeal. The deadline for such appeals is sixty (60) days from the date of denial. And unless you have already returned to work, or expect to return to work in the near future, you should appeal.
Having an attorney represent you for your initial request or at any appeal level can increase your chances of receiving any deserved benefits and back pay you are owed.
What is "Reconsideration?"
When a claim for Social Security disability benefits is denied at the initial level, the claimant may then request a further review. At this time, your disability claim is now officially in the "reconsideration" phase of the process. In most states (including Indiana), reconsideration is the first stage of appeal with the Disability Determination Bureau in the state in which you live. However, some states (including Michigan), do not have reconsideration.
At the reconsideration level the case is sent to a different disability examiner at the same disability agency for a "second look" and more development as he/she deems necessary. Reconsideration approvals are rare, causing the Social Security Administration to rethink this step in the appeals process.
(In some states, reconsideration has already been eliminated and cases go directly to administrative hearing. Currently, the Social Security Administration has announced that reconsideration will be replaced with a new process. That is now being phased in nationally wherein a federal reviewing officer, outside the state disability determination agency will review claims.)
How long does it take to get a hearing on a Social Security disability claim?
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review ("ODAR") generally takes between nine (9) and thirteen (13) months to schedule a hearing after being requested.
What are my chances of winning at a hearing?
The approval rate in the United States (all hearing offices) is currently 44%. However, we believe that hiring an attorney significantly increases those odds.
What is the Appeals Council?
The Appeals Council is the highest level of appeal within the Social Security Administration. The Appeals Council accepts requests for review of unfavorable determinations issued by Administrative Law Judges. The Appeals Council also reviews favorable determinations issued by Administrative Law Judges on a random basis.
I'm a Disabled Widow(er): Can I Get Disability Benefits?
Yes. If your deceased spouse worked and paid into Social Security, you can make a claim for Disabled Widow's Benefits within seven (7) years of his/her passing. If you do not qualify for Disabled Widow's Benefits, you may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") if you meet the income/asset requirements.
How long does it take before Social Security makes a decision once I file a claim for Social Security disability benefits?
The Disability Determination Bureau generally takes between one (1) and six (6) months to make a reconsideration determination.
How long does it take for Social Security to act upon a request for Appeals Council review?
The Appeals Council generally takes between six (6) and eighteen (18) months to act upon a request for review of an ALJ's decision.
What's the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed for people who are 65 of age and older OR people who are under 65 with certain disabilities. Eligibility for Medicare is the uniform in all states.
Medicaid is a federal health insurance program administered by the states using federal, state and local funds to provide medical coverage for people who meet its requirements. Eligibility for Medicaid changes from state to state. It is possible to qualifty for both Medicare and Medicaid. People who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid are known as "dual eligibles."
How dangerous is a motorcycle accident in comparison to an auto accident?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 18 times as likely as auto occupants to die in a motorcycle accident and about three times as likely to be injured.
How long will my case take?
The length of time a case takes depends on a number of things. A complex case, with several different parties, all with different claims, can take a lot longer to resolve than a relatively simple case, involving one injured party, and one party who caused the injury.
Many straightforward motorcycle cases are resolved in four to eight months. It is possible, but unusual for a case to take much more than one and a half years to resolve.
I wasn't wearing a helmet when I was in an accident. Does that make a difference?
You may bring an action for your injuries even if you were not wearing a helmet, but not wearing a helmet may make a difference in the amount of damages you receive. If not wearing a helmet did not cause or aggravate your injuries (for example, if you were hurt in your legs, and wearing a helmet would not have made any difference in your injuries), it probably will not make a difference. The attorneys at Keller and Keller will gladly discuss any concerns with you regarding your motorcycle accident.
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