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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I’m eligible for disability benefits?

  • If you are no longer capable of working full-time because of a medically documented condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 continuous months, you may qualify for disability.

When should I file my claim?

  • If you are disabled and can't work, file now. The claims process can take as long as two years, and some claims have a limited filing window. File as soon as possible, even if you have an existing workman's compensation, veteran's disability, retirement, or insurance claim.

How long must I wait for a decision?

  • After filing an initial claim, the Social Security Administration will generally issue their decision within 120 days.

What if my claim is denied?

  • If your claim is denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal. We recommend you seek representation at this point. Expert help can cut through red tape and make the difference between a second denial and getting your claim approved.

What top three mistakes can get your disability appeal denied?

  • Providing an incomplete picture—Social Security will review your claim for a complete description of why you can't work, and look for strong evidence proving it. Make sure your claim accurately and completely describes any symptoms or conditions impacting your ability to work.
  • Sketchy documentation—To prove your disability claim, you'll need to demonstrate regular medical treatment. See your doctor regularly, take all medications as prescribed, and keep good records.
  • Filing alone—Expert representation greatly increases your chances of getting your appeal approved. Individuals who represent themselves at the hearing level win only 45% of their cases. Competent representation boosts your chances to 65%. (2006 data)

What should I look for when selecting a reputable Social Security disability advocate?

  • First, choose someone you are comfortable with. The claims process can be lengthy, stressful, and frustrating. You must be completely comfortable with your representative. Ask for an initial consultation. Before accepting representation, ask for referrals from past clients.\
  • Second, choose someone local. A local advocate is an expert on state laws and knows the local Social Security Administration judges and clerks.
  • Third, choose a firm specializing in Social Security disability claims. Ask for their success rate. The national industry average is only 65% of claims approved at the hearing level.

Why is Advocates for the Disabled the right choice for me?

  • All cases are managed by authorized social security representatives. Ernest Shell, a former Social Security Administration disability examiner, oversees and manages all authorized social security representatives that will be assigned to your case.
  • Advocates for the Disabled accepts only local cases. We know the local judges, clerks, and claims workers. We apply that knowledge directly to your case.
  • We have a high success rate of winning claims at the hearing level.

How do you charge?

  • Unless we win your case, you don't pay anything! Fees for disability representation are set by the Social Security Administration. The current fee is 25% of past-due benefits, up to a maximum of $6,000.

Do you offer a free consultation?

  • Absolutely! Call 208-343-6058 or fill in our e-mail form. We will discuss your individual case, explain why your claim may have been denied, and suggest ways to increase your chances of winning your appeal.

Can I work while waiting for a decision?

  • Yes, you may work while awaiting a decision. However, there are complicated rules about how much you can earn. Contact us for a FREE consultation on your claim.

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Ernest Shell's succussful claims include

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Meniere's disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Schizoaffective disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • And more
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