Experienced Oklahoma Social Security disability lawyer representing clients throughout the Oklahoma City metro area
I have been representing Oklahoma City disability clients seeking Oklahoma Social Security disability benefits for 38 years. I have devoted my practice almost entirely to the representation of Oklahoma disability claimants seeking Social Security benefits, including Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income, before the Social Security Administration in Oklahoma.
I accept Oklahoma Social Security disability claims at all stages – whether you are thinking about applying for Social Security disability, have had your application denied, or have had your request for reconsideration denied. For Social Security disability in Oklahoma and nationwide, about 35% of all initial applications are denied and about 15% of all requests for reconsideration are approved. However, many claims are approved when the reconsideration denial is appealed for a hearing before an administrative law judge.
I usually accept cases after Oklahoma disability claimants’ applications have been denied, but occasionally I will begin representation of a claimant by helping him or her file the initial application for disability benefits. When applying for Oklahoma disability benefits, there are many forms that must be completed in addition to the initial application. For more information about what the Oklahoma Social Security Administration is looking for before awarding disability benefits, see 9 Tips for Applying.
If your application is denied, my representation includes assisting with and completing the various forms for appeal of denials and appearing with you to present your claim to the administrative law judge. From my experience, I have learned that a frequent issue is that the Oklahoma City Social Security Administration did not receive from your treating physician all the medical information it needed to make their disability determination. I will work with you in obtaining that needed medical documentation. For more information about why medical documentation is so important for your case, see Medical Documentation in Oklahoma City Disability Cases.
If you filed your appeal and your hearing is approaching, I will assemble the evidence, prepare you and the witnesses, and represent you at the hearing. For your hearing, I am able to offer you a combination of specialized knowledge and experience, and a successful strategy to approaching disability hearings.
For all stages of the disability process, my experience handling Oklahoma disability cases gives me insight into what the Social Security Administration needs to find you disabled. I will also always explain the Social Security disability process to you, and I will guide you through the often confusing Oklahoma Social Security disability application and appeal process.
Are you likely to win Oklahoma Social Security disability benefits?
When evaluating your disability claim, the Social Security Administration in Oklahoma and nationally will look at your ability to work, recent jobs, education, and age.
The Social Security Administration uses a five-step approach to evaluating your disability claim, which it calls the sequential evaluation process. The following is a summary of the five-step disability evaluation process. Note that the words in quotes have special meaning to the Social Security Administration.
- Step 1. Are you working? If you are doing “substantial gainful activity,” the Oklahoma Social Security Administration will find you not disabled. Substantial gainful activity means work that pays $1,000 per month or more and involves more than minimal duties. If you are not doing substantial gainful activity, your claim moves to Step 2.
- Step 2. How is your mental and physical health? Do you have a “severe” impairment? An impairment or combination of impairments is considered severe by the Social Security Administration in Oklahoma and nationally if it significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities like dealing with changes in a routine work setting; seeing, hearing, and speaking; understanding, carrying out, and remembering simple instructions; walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying, and handling; use of judgment; and responding appropriately to co-workers, supervision, and usual work situations. If you have a severe impairment, your claim moves to Step 3.
- Step 3. Does your impairment meet or equal a listed impairment? You will be found disabled by the Social Security Administration if your impairment (i) meets or “equals” one of the impairments described in the Social Security regulations known as the Listing of Impairments and (b) has lasted or is expected to last more than 12 months. The Listings are available on the Internet at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/index.htm. If you satisfy this step, you qualify for Oklahoma Social Security disability benefits. There is no need to continue onto the next two steps. If your impairment does not meet or equal a listing, your claim moves on to Step 4.
- Step 4. What were your last jobs? You will not be found disabled if you can still do your “past relevant work.” Past relevant work is any “substantial gainful activity” you did during the past 15 years for a long enough time to learn the job. To meet this step, you must prove that you are incapable of doing any work that you performed in the last 15 years, including the easiest job you held in the last 15 years. If you cannot do past relevant work, your claim progresses to Step 5.
- Step 5. What other work can you do? If you can perform other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy, then you will be found not disabled. This step considers your age, education, work experience, and remaining work capacity. If you cannot do other generally available jobs, you will be eligible for disability benefits. The older you are, the easier it is to be found disabled.
You must also be “insured” to receive Social Security disability benefits. To be “insured,” you must have paid Social Security taxes over a long enough period of time and paid such taxes recently enough. After you stop working (and stop paying Social Security taxes), there will come a time when your insured status will lapse, just like it would with a private insurance company.
If you met the requirements of the five-step disability evaluation process and you have paid Social Security taxes, it is worth beginning the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits. If you are disabled but have not paid Social Security taxes, you may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. For more information about SSI, see Oklahoma City SSI Explained.
What is my fee?
Almost all of my Oklahoma City Social Security disability clients prefer a contingent fee. A contingent fee means that I am paid only if you are awarded benefits.
The contingent fee for my representation has to be approved by the Social Security Administration and is limited to 25% of any benefits that they award for any months prior to the month in which they begin your monthly payment. These are known as past-due benefits. The Social Security Administration also limits the fee to $6,000 on past-due benefits. No fee is taken from your current and future monthly benefits.
How to decide whether to pursue Oklahoma Social Security disability benefits
Though the disability evaluation process can be lengthy and complicated, the question in front of you or any Oklahoma City disability claimant is a simple one: “Do you believe you are unable to work?”
If so, I recommend you seek Social Security disability with assistance from an experienced Oklahoma Social Security disability lawyer. As is to be expected when dealing with a large government bureaucracy like the Social Security Administration, there are a lot of rules to follow and the processes can be complicated. With 38 years of experience as an Oklahoma City Social Security attorney, I can help you navigate the Social Security Administration’s disability process.
If you live in Oklahoma City or its surrounding metro area and want assistance with your application for Social Security disability benefits or appealing a denial, I can help. Please provide a brief description of your claim using the short claim evaluation form to your right, and I will respond promptly.
I will always answer the phone during usual business hours if I am not busy with another call. If you get my voice message, please leave your name and telephone number and I will promptly return your call.. I make house calls to meet with Oklahoma disability clients across the Oklahoma City metro area and Central Oklahoma.
Representing Oklahoma Social Security disability claimants for 38 years.
Additional information about qualifying for Social Security disability in Oklahoma City
My 100+ page website will provide many answers to your Social Security disability questions, including the below questions: “Should I apply for Oklahoma Social Security disability benefits?” and “What should I do if received a denial of my initial application or a denial of my request for reconsideration?” I am also happy to personally answer any questions you may have.
Should I apply for Oklahoma Social Security disability benefits?
- If Social Security disability is a new topic for you, my answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security disability benefits in Oklahoma City and nationwide provide a good introduction.
- 9 Tips for Applying provides more information on what the Social Security Administration in Oklahoma and nationwide seeks before awarding disability benefits.
- My video called Are You Likely to Qualify delivers a succinct introduction to how the Social Security Administration makes its disability determinations.
- Applying for Disability Benefits When… spells out how the Social Security Administration evaluates particular impairments and provides medical opinion forms.
What should I do if received a denial of my initial application or a denial of my request for reconsideration?
- My free e-booklet, Appealing a Denial of Benefits, provides additional practical advice.
- The articles in Your Disability Hearing, located in my Library below, provide an inside look at the stage of the disability determination process where you are most likely to win.
- To hear how an administrative law judge will evaluate your eligibility for Social Security disability, see my video on the top of this page called How the Judge Determines Disability.