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Miami disability lawyer offers guidance on Florida Social Security applications and appeals

Miami disability law firm Lieberman & Zagoria P.A. practices Florida Social Security disability law exclusively. Lyle D. Lieberman has extensive experience as a Miami disability attorney. He has limited his practice to the field of Social Security law for more than 30 years, and from 1978 to 1980, he served as a U.S. Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration. He is a sought-after speaker on Social Security disability topics. See About us.

We have prepared this 100-page website to share with you some of the valuable information we have acquired in our years of practicing before the Social Security Administration.

Should I apply for Social Security disability benefits?

This is a question we are often asked by callers to our Florida disability law firm.

  • Do you have a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working?
  • Has it lasted or is it expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months?

If the answer to both these questions is yes, you should apply. You can apply for Social Security disability benefits by (1) phoning 1-800-772-1213 for an appointment, or (2) completing your application online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/. See Tips for applying for further advice.

But, after you submit your application, be prepared. Your initial application is likely to be denied. About two-thirds of initial applications, both in the South Florida area and nationally, are denied by the Social Security Administration.

What should I do if my initial application is denied?

Do not be discouraged. Take the next step and appeal. The Social Security disability evaluation process is rigorous, complex, and lengthy. Many people become so frustrated that they simply give up. Every year more than one million people don’t appeal the denial of their initial applications, and a number of those are truly disabled.

However, those who appeal have a significantly better chance of success. Over half of South Florida and Miami Social Security disability claimants who appeal, like claimants on the national level, are ultimately awarded Florida disability benefits. For more information on how to appeal, see Advice for appealing a denial of Social Security disability benefits.

One reason the success rate is higher for appeals than for applications is that an appeal results in a Social Security disability hearing before an administrative law judge. The hearing gives you the chance to tell the judge in your own words the impact of your physical or mental problems on your ability to work. And it lets the judge, see with his own eyes, how your problems have affected you. For more information about Social Security disability hearings, watch our video, “What not to do at your hearing.” Also take a look at the articles in Your Disability Hearing, in our Library.

What does it take to qualify for disability benefits in Miami?

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits in Miami and elsewhere in South Florida, you must be “disabled” as defined in Social Security law and regulations. The Social Security Administration has a stringent definition of disabled which is based on your ability to work.

To satisfy this definition, you must:

  • Not be working or you must be earning less than a minimum monthly amount specified by the Social Security Administration.
  • Have a physical or mental condition that is severe, can be established through medically acceptable diagnostic techniques, and is expected to last, or has lasted, at least 12 months or result in death.
  • Not be able to do “past relevant work,” which means you must be unable to do the easiest job you have done in the past 15 years.
  • Not be able to do other jobs that exist in the national economy considering your age, education, and work experience.

In addition to these disability requirements, you must have paid sufficient Social Security taxes to qualify for Social Security disability insurance benefits or you must meet income and asset tests to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

For more information on whether you are disabled for Social Security disability purposes, see the video “Are you likely to qualify” at the top of this page.

How we help Miami and south Florida disability claimants

Whether you are preparing to apply or your claim has already been denied, the South Florida and Miami disability lawyers at Lieberman & Zagoria P.A. are available to help. We handle Social Security disability cases at all stages, including appeals to federal court.

We analyze what each of our Florida disability clients needs to prove to win, and then we figure out how to prove it. We gather all the evidence necessary for the proper adjudication of each client’s claim. We then present it in the most effective manner to the administrative law judge, Appeals Council and, if necessary, in federal court.

We handle all types of impairments, including:

Musculoskeletal disorders
Arthritis and joint pain
Back injuries

Respiratory disorders
Asthma
Cystic fibrosis
Emphysema

Mental disorders
Anxiety
Bipolar disorder
Depression
Schizophrenia

Cardiovascular diseases
Heart failure
Ischemic heart disease
Peripheral artery disease

Endocrine and immune disorders
Diabetes
Lupus

Neurological conditions
Epilepsy
Stroke
Cerebral palsy
Multiple sclerosis

Pain disorders
Fibromyalgia
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome

How to contact us

Having an experienced Miami disability lawyer help you through the complicated disability evaluation and appeals process will provide you with much needed peace of mind. Please contact us if you live in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, or elsewhere in south Florida and want assistance with your Florida disability case.

If you provide a brief description of your claim using the form to the left, we will respond promptly. Or you may contact us.

Additionally, you may wish to visit our other website, SocialSecurityDisabilityLawyer.com, for further information and ways to get in touch with us.