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Social Security Disability Claims

Virginia Social Security Disability Lawyer

Social Security Disability Lawyer
Mary Ann Barnes

Virginia Social Security Disability Lawyer

Sick or injured and can’t work? You don’t have to wait until you’re denied.  Call today. We help our clients put their lives back together.

Mary Ann Barnes – Social Security Disability Attorney

Testimonial: “Ms. Barnes, I cannot thank you and your staff enough for taking my case at what was a very dark time for me. You are a gift to all who find themselves in need of guidance and support.”

Contact us today for a FREE Consultation.  It’s the first step to putting your life back together.

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Six frequently asked questions about VA social security disability cases:

1. What is the legal definition of Social Security Disability?

A person is considered disabled if he has a physical and/or emotional condition that renders him unable to perform substantial gainful activity, considering his age, education and past work history. The condition must have been or be expected to last one year (or to result in death.)

2. What is the practical definition of disability?

A disability is any medical condition that prevents you from working at a regular full-time job for at least 12 months.

3. When should I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?

You should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as you and your doctors agree that your disability is going to last a full year. You are not eligible for benefits if your condition doesn’t last a full year; so many people have to wait for a while to see what happens with their medical condition. Others, who have been struggling to work in spite of their disability and know the condition is not going away, should apply as soon as they stop working.

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4. How is determination of Disability made?

Disability is defined as the inability to do one’s previous job or any other substantial gainful activity due to a severe physical or mental impairment, as determined by a doctor. Such impairment must last or be expected to last for at least 12 months or to end in death.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses an evaluation system for determining whether a worker is disabled. The major questions to be answered, in order, are the following:

  • Step One: Is the person currently working and engaged in substantial gainful activity? If the answer is yes, the person is not considered disabled, regardless of medical condition. If the answer is no, go to Step Two.
  • Step Two: Does the person have a severe medical impairment or combination of impairments which can be expected to last for a continuing period of one year or result in death, and which significantly limits the ability to do basic work activity? If the answer is no, the person is not disabled. If the answer is yes, go to Step Three.
  • Step Three: Is the impairment (or combination of impairments) the same as or equivalent to an impairment found in the Listing of Impairments in Appendix I of the regulations, 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1? If the answer is yes, the impairment is automatically severe and prohibitive of gainful activity, and the person is disabled. If the answer is no, go to Step Four.
  • Step Four: What is the person’s ”residual functional capacity”? Does the person retain sufficient mental and physical capacity to meet the demands of the person’s former work? If the answer is yes, the person is not disabled. If the answer is no, go to Step Five.
  • Step Five: Does the person have sufficient residual functional capacity, when considered with the person’s age, education, and work experience, to be able to undertake other work activity?

The burden to prove disability is on the claimant from steps one through four, but the burden shifts to the government at step five.

5. Do I have to wait until I’ve been denied twice and at the hearing level to hire an attorney?

A person can manage the initial claim and reconsideration levels; however, once a person is at the administrative hearing level, it is imperative that they have an attorney.

6. What is your fee structure?

We handle Social Security Disability cases on a contingency-fee basis. We do not get paid a legal fee unless you win.

Your Next Step:

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We have four offices conveniently located in Charlottesville, Palmyra (Across from Food Lion), Harrisonburg, and Staunton, Virginia.

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