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How to Apply for Social Security Disability in Arkansas

 

When you are suffering from an illness or injury, you could be dismayed to find that while you are unable to work, you may have been denied Social Security Disability benefits. Of course, this is an extremely difficult time for you and for your family. Having an experienced Social Security Disability attorney by your side could significantly decrease what may feel like overwhelming obstacles you are facing. To ensure you are not deprived of the benefits you are entitled to, you should understand the process and have a knowledgeable SSD attorney to help guide you through the process.

 

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What is SSD?

Perhaps you are not familiar with Social Security Disability, however now that you are unable to work, you do not know which way to turn. Social Security Disability is a Social Security program which pays monthly benefits to those who are disabled and unable to work prior to reaching retirement age. To qualify for the SSD program, you must have worked and paid FICA taxes for a specific number of years. If you have not met this requirement when you become disabled, you could potentially be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, assuming your income and assets are low enough. The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSD will depend on your age when your disability first began. As an example, if you were 50 years old when your disability occurred, you will need to have worked for 7 years, accruing 28 work credits (four credits per year of work). At least five of those seven years must have been within the past ten years.

In addition to the necessary work credits, you must also have a medical condition which meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. Only those with a severe, long-term disability are eligible for SSD.  You may wonder what qualifies as “severe.” A severe disability will interfere with your basic, work-related activities, making it impossible for you to continue working. Long-term means the condition you have can reasonably be expected to last a minimum of one year. To the Social Security Administration, a total disability means you are unable to perform “substantial, gainful activity for at least one year.”

Even if you are immediately approved for disability benefits (as you might be if you just underwent a heart transplant), you will not receive SSD benefits until you have been disabled for five months—SSD’s five-month “waiting period.” Since it is more likely that your SSD application will not be approved for six months to a year, then if you are eventually approved you will receive back pay beginning with the sixth month after the beginning of your disability.

To recap the requirements for SSD:

  • You must have a documented medical or psychological impairment which prevents substantial gainful activity.
  • Your impairment must have prevented—or can be expected to prevent—you from participating in substantial, gainful activity for at least twelve months.
  • You must not be working and earning over a specific amount, generally $1,170 per month.
  • Self-employed people have other tests used by Social Security to determine whether substantial gainful activity is being engaged in.

While applicants working and earning above the Substantial Gainful Activity level will be denied immediately without even having their medical records, injury or illness considered, disabled individuals may work part-time while applying for benefits if they are not earning more than the allowable income. There are many complexities in the Social Security Disability system and our Arkansas SSD attorneys pride themselves on being able to sort out the specific issues for each client, allowing them to receive the benefits they deserve.

 

What is the Filing Process for SSD?

how to apply for social security disablity (SSD) in arkansas

If you live in the state of Arkansas and are suffering from a severe disability which keeps you from working, you can apply for SSD at your local Social Security field office or online. You will be required to fill out a number of forms, as well as gathering documents together, including:

  • If you are married and/or divorced, you need the dates of those events.
  • If you are married and/or have children, you need the full names and birthdates of your spouse and children.
  • If you have been discharged from the military, you need Form DD 214.
  • You will need your checking or savings account number as well as bank routing information so that check can be direct deposited into your account if your application is approved.
  • You will need all your medical records which include dates of treatment from all doctors, hospitals and clinics, as well as your patient ID number.
  • You will need the names and dates of any medical tests which confirm your diagnosis, along with the name of the referring physician.
  • If you currently take prescription medication(s) for your disability, you will need the names of the medication(s) as well as the name of the prescribing doctor.
  • You will need a list of all the jobs you have held for the fifteen years prior to your disability.

You will fill out an Adult Disability Report, a Disability Benefit Application and an Authorization to Disclose Information Form (SSA-827).

Why you need an attorney to file for SSD

Why is it Important to Have an Experienced Arkansas SSD Attorney File My Application?

Since most SSD applications are initially denied, and the appeals process can be extremely complex, it is important to have an Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorney on board who has a full working knowledge of the disability requirements. Our attorneys have dealt with our clients’ SSD challenges for many years, gaining valuable insights along the way. We have both the experience and knowledge to aggressively fight for your future and will never passively accept a denial.


What are the Approval Rates for Different Stages of the SSD Application?

Many initial applications for SSD are denied, however the decision can be appealed with a request for review of the denial within 60 days of receipt of the denial letter. According to the Social Security Disability Resource Center, although the rate of approval for SSD varies from state to state—as well as from level to level of the SSD process—the average national rate for approval of an initial disability application is 36 percent—meaning 64 percent of all initial claims receive a denial letter. If you receive a denial letter and request a review of the denial, then you can expect even more dismal approval rates—nationally, about 13.8 percent.

This extremely low approval rate of an initial denial is because these denial reviews are sent to the same state disability agency which initially denied the claim (although to a different examiner). Review or reconsideration appeals are typically looked at as simply the next step to the disability process, which is an appeal to an administrative law judge. This level of the SSD process has the highest approval rate, with a national average of 62 percent. If you receive a denial after going in front of the administrative law judge, then you can appeal this denial to the Appeals Council—which has an approval rate of only about 13 percent.

If a denial is issued from the Appeals Council, you have one last chance to obtain disability benefits through federal court—where about 40 percent of disability cases are approved. Keep in mind, these are national statistics, and the approval rate for SSD actually varies considerably from state to state. As an example, Hawaii has the highest SSD approval rate at about 52 percent (for initial claim decisions) while the lowest approval rate is found in Mississippi, at 24 percent. Currently, about 30.2 percent of initial Arkansas Social Security Disability claims are awarded, which is a bit less than the national average. The average wait time for an SSD hearing is from six months to two years.


How Do I Contact the Arkansas SSD?

Social Security sends your claim to Arkansas DDSSA soon after you submit your application. You should call DDSSA with any questions you have about your application after you apply.

Arkansas Disability Determination

701 Pulaski Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-3030
Fax: 800-482-9950
Website: http://www.state.ar.us/ddssa/

Arkansas has two Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) locations where disability hearings are held. In addition, the Memphis and Dallas ODAR offices service some areas in Arkansas.

Fort Smith

Central Mall, Suite 475
5111 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903-2034
Phone: 479-452-0137
Fax: 479-452-5415

Memphis

309 Monroe Street
Memphis, TN 3810
Phone: (866) 348-5830
Fax: (901) 523-9282

(In addition to servicing field offices in Tennessee, this hearing office services Forrest City and West Memphis, Arkansas.)

Little Rock

2405 Federal Office Building
700 West Capitol Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone: 866-592-2549
Fax: 501-324-7137

Dallas North

Suite 500
12790 Merit Drive
Dallas, Texas 75251

Telephone: (866) 331-7135
Fax: (972) 341-5153

(In addition to servicing field offices in Texas, this hearing office services Texarkana and Pine Bluff, Arkansas.)

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We’re There When You Need Us

If you need to apply for social security disability in Arkansas, it is important to speak with an experienced SSD lawyer immediately. We can help you file the disability claims you need and prevent mistakes from occurring that could jeopardize your claim.

With four offices in Arkansas—Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway, and Hot Springs—our Arkansas SSD lawyers are easily accessible from the moment you need us. Fill out a free contact request form, which only takes a minute, or simply dial (800) 767-4815 and tell us your story.

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