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Social Security Disability

Davenport Social Security Disability Law Firm

Serving Your Needs in the Iowa Counties of Clinton, Muscatine, Scott County, Rock Island County, & Throughout the midwest

Securing the federal benefits you need and deserve through the Social Security Administration can be challenging. Your application can be delayed or denied for countless reasons. Dealing with a federal agency the size and scope of the SSA is never easy. This is why two-thirds of disability benefits applications are denied, according to the SSA’s own report

It can be invaluable to put a law firm on your side that understands the law, its intricacies, and the entire process from initial application to final appeal. At Bowman, DePree & Murphy, our exceptional legal team puts 60 years of combined experience in this field of law to work for you. 

Because we primarily concentrate our practice on Social Security Disability cases, we do them well. Since our firm was founded over 40 years ago, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients secure needed benefits. 

Arrange a free initial consultation with a Davenport attorney for Social Security Disability claims by contacting a team member online. Or call Bowman, DePree & Murphy at (563) 412-4755

Social Security Disability Insurance & Supplemental Security Income Cases

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs designed to provide financial assistance to individuals who cannot work due to a significant medical condition.

SSDI is available to those who have worked and paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes. To qualify, applicants must have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability and have earned enough work credits.

SSI is a program available to individuals with limited income and resources, regardless of their work history. SSI benefits are based on financial need rather than past employment. They are designed to help cover necessities like food, clothing, and shelter.

Eligibility Criteria for SSDI & SSI

The criteria to secure benefits under the SSDI program include:

  • Work credits: Earned through work history and contributions to Social Security via payroll taxes.
  • Medical condition: Must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability, meaning the condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
  • Earnings limit: Must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to the medical condition.

The criteria to secure benefits under the SSI program include: 

  • Limited income: Demonstrate financial need with income below the established threshold by SSA.
  • Limited resources: Own assets worth no more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple (not including the home you live in and certain personal property).
  • Disability, age, or blindness: Must be 65 or older, blind, or have a disability that fits SSA’s criteria.

How Bowman, DePree & Murphy Can Improve Your Chances of a Favorable Outcome

Navigating the application process for SSDI and SSI can be incredibly complex and intimidating. It is fraught with numerous regulations, deadlines, and meticulous documentation requirements. 

Here's why having a lawyer from our Iowa law firm can be beneficial:

  • Knowledge: Our legal team possesses an in-depth understanding and up-to-date knowledge of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income law, which helps identify the most effective strategies for successful claims.
  • Detailed preparation: We can gather and organize comprehensive medical records, personal documentation, and other critical information so that no detail is overlooked and your application is as strong as possible.
  • Improved success rates: Statistically, applicants represented by an attorney have higher success rates for initial claim approvals and appeals.
  • Appeals and hearings: If your initial claim is denied, our attorneys aggressively represent you through every stage of the appeal process, including hearings before administrative law judges.
  • Peace of mind: Taking on the bureaucratic complexities of the SSA is stressful enough without the added burden of worrying about legal technicalities. Our attorneys manage this workload, allowing you to focus on your health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does the Disability Process Take?

The approximate national average is as follows:

  • Initial determination: 120 days and 35% succeed
  • Reconsideration determination: 90 days and 15% succeed
  • Hearing: 530 days and 55% succeed
  • Appeals council: 220 days
  • Federal court: 540 days

How Much Will Representation Cost? 

The typical fee is 25% of back benefits, up to a maximum set by the Commissioner of Social Security, currently $7,200. Sometimes, the cost is higher when appeals are involved beyond the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing level.

Should You Apply for Disability?

If your answers match the ones below, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will likely award you benefits.

  • Are you gainfully employed? No
  • Do you have a severe impairment? Yes
  • Will your impairment last 12 months or result in death? Yes
  • Does your disability meet one of SSA’s listed impairments? If yes, you qualify. If no—(see next question)
  • Are you able to work? No

What Are Disability Hearings Like?

They are private, held in a small conference room, and last an hour or so. You will be asked about your education, training, work experience, symptoms, limitations, and daily activities.

What Does a Disability Lawyer Do?

The big-picture answer is that we analyze what needs to be proven to win benefits, figure out how to prove it, gather the necessary evidence, assist with appeals at every level, and correspond with the SSA on your claim.

Some of the specific tasks are:

  • Obtain reports from treating doctors that are consistent with Social Security regulations
  • Refer claimants to specialists for additional reports that answer questions raised by Social Security regulations
  • Obtain a vocational expert’s evaluation of the claimant’s ability to work
  • Ask that a prior application for benefits be reopened
  • Seek a waiver of a time limit
  • Request subpoenas to ensure the presence of crucial witnesses or documents
  • Advise the claimant on how best to prepare for and testify at the hearing
  • Object to improper evidence or procedures at the hearing
  • Cross-examine adverse witnesses
  • Present a closing statement
  • Submit a written summary of the evidence and argument
  • If the claimant wins, make sure the SSA correctly calculates benefits
  • If the claimant loses, request a review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council

What Happens if Your Disability Appeal Is Late?

If you have not filed your appeal within 65 days of the date on your denial letter, you have to start over with a new claim. That new claim may result in the loss of back benefits.

What Is the Most Common Disability Mistake?

Because most appeals are granted at a hearing, failing to appeal a denial to the hearing level is the number one error and, unfortunately, very common.

When Should You Hire a Lawyer?

Most claimants wait until their claims are denied for reconsideration before hiring a lawyer. Most observers agree this timing works well because a lawyer makes a difference at a hearing.

Should You Apply for Benefits?

Unless you have an obvious long-term disability, the best time to apply for Social Security disability benefits is six to nine months after you stop working.

Should You Use an Attorney to Help You Apply?

You are not required to have an attorney. You can represent yourself. You can have a friend, family member, or inexperienced attorney represent you. Non-attorney representatives who are, more or less, skilled exist. Many out-of-state law firms or groups will offer to represent you. You may not meet these out-of-state representatives in person before the day of your hearing, often more than 18 months after you apply.

Negotiating a disability case is a long, complex process. Much of it must now be done using the computer. The first two decisions on a claim are often incorrect. Many of these need to be appealed to the level of a hearing with a Social Security judge. Many people whose claims were denied at the first two levels are found disabled at the hearing level by a Social Security judge. This tells you that many of these initial and reconsideration decisions are wrong.

The hearing itself is often one hour or less. You may be nervous. A lot is riding on the outcome. If your attorney is realistic, they may be anxious because they are paid only if you win. A nervous attorney who is experienced and concentrates on this type of law is more likely to be alert to potential pitfalls. They will be better able to cross-examine the government’s witness and help you present your testimony.

Our Attorneys Can Go the Distance

Many out-of-state attorneys or representatives will not help you appeal to federal court if you lose. They are (often) not listed in the Iowa or Illinois federal courts. Changing horses in mid-stream on a case has its problems. 

Only a few attorneys in Iowa and Illinois can handle federal court appeals if you lose before the judge and the appeal board. You are subject to strict time limits at each stage in the appeal (60 days).

Ask any attorney or representative you are considering hiring how far they will represent you in the appeal process. Ask them how many hearings they have had with local Social Security judges.

Assistance Navigating a Complicated Process

What is at stake for you is income replacement, which comes with a determination that you are disabled.

You may be unable to file multiple claims based on the type of claim you file. Based on when you stopped working, you may have to prove you were disabled before a specific date. You may be barred from getting a favorable decision on a subsequent claim if you do not win at one step of the appeal process on your first claim. You want to maximize your chances on your first claim.

You stand to benefit from our experienced, local attorney representation at Bowman, DePree & Murphy. 

For your part: always tell the truth, work if you still can, do everything you can to improve your health, stay away from any overindulgence in alcohol or any use of street drugs, and cooperate in any way you can in the development of your case. Be patient. Try not to get discouraged. Believe in your case.

Reserve your free case review with a Davenport attorney practicing Social Security Disability law at Bowman, DePree & Murphy by phone (563) 412-4755 or by email on our online contact form for legal help and guidance. 

Questions about a social security or disability issue?

Hear From Our Happy Clients

See Why We Will Make a Difference for Your Case & Get You the Rights You Deserve.
    "I cannot say enough positive things about having Thad Murphy as my disability lawyer."
    He walked me thru each step of the process and made sure everything was in order and ready for my appeal. I spoke to many different lawyers before I decided to go with Mr. Murphy and I think it was one of the most important decisions I ever made.
    - Tim S.
    "I could never have done it again or been successful without Mr. Murphy's help.& dedication to his clients."
    I tried 10+ years to get my disability only to be told No over and over. I was frustrated, worried, and tired of trying & fighting only to be told NO yet again. A friend told me about Bowman, DePree & Murphy in Davenport. I'd heard the name in pass
    - Charity M.
    "I can now rest my head."
    I just like to thank you Michael Dupree for being my savior which has changed my life for the better unfortunately disability is a part now but thanks to you.
    - Nathaniel L.
    "Great Disability attorney! My decision to work with Mr. Thad Murphy was life changing, at the right time."
    Mr. Murphy was able to get my disability on the first appeal and charged a very fair rate which was under the cap from my settlement of back pay from being off for five years.
    - Benjamin B.
    "I love this place!"
    They helped me out with my disability when I couldn't get it on my own. Thank you so much y'all!
    - Tammy H.
    "I only wish I would have reached out sooner. Fair, Honest, and will work for your Win."
    HIGHLY RECOMMEND this Office!! My case was very complex, and had me exhausted. I had been looking for the right Attorney, and found him right here. Thad Murphy handled my case in an amazing amount of time.
    - Sandra R.
    "Everything you would expect."
    Did a great job with explaining the steps we need to take to secure our future and our children.
    - Amy S.
    "I would recommend him or this office to anyone who needs help!"
    I had the honor to work with Mr. Murphy. He handled my disability case. He is very understanding and is there if you have questions.
    - Amber W.
    "They got my disability for me very quickly."
    So very pleased! I referred 5 friends to them and they got their disability for them as well! Two from Davenport area, and three in Burlington!! GREAT ATTORNEYS!!! I'm still recommending them!
    - Melody L.

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