Why Do Some Arizonans Get Denied Social Security Disability and How Can They Appeal

Why Might My Social Security Disability Claim Be Denied?

One of the most common reasons for denial of Social Security Disability (SSD) claims in Arizona is the lack of sufficient medical evidence. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires comprehensive medical documentation to substantiate your disability claim. If your medical records do not thoroughly document your disability, the SSA may deny your claim.

Another common reason for denial is the SSA’s determination that your disability isn’t severe enough or won’t last long enough. The SSA generally only approves claims for conditions expected to last at least a year or result in death. If your condition is expected to improve within a year, or if it doesn’t significantly limit your ability to work, your claim may be denied.

What Can I Do If My SSD Claim Is Denied?

If your SSD claim is denied, don’t despair. You have the right to appeal the decision, and many people who are initially denied eventually receive benefits after appealing. In Arizona, there are four levels of appeal: reconsideration, hearing by an administrative law judge, review by the Appeals Council, and federal court review.

Reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who didn’t take part in the first decision. They’ll look at all the evidence submitted in the original decision, plus any new evidence.

If your claim is denied again, you can request a hearing by an administrative law judge. This is your chance to present your case in person. You can bring witnesses, such as medical or vocational experts, to testify on your behalf.

What If My SSD Appeal Is Also Denied?

If your appeal is denied at the hearing level, you can request a review by the SSA’s Appeals Council. However, the Appeals Council doesn’t review all cases. They may deny your request if they believe the hearing decision was correct.

If the Appeals Council denies your claim or decides not to review your case, you could then file a lawsuit in a federal district court, the last level of the appeals process.

How Can I Improve My Chances of Winning My SSD Appeal?

One of the most effective ways to improve your chances of winning your SSD appeal is to hire an experienced disability attorney. They can guide you through the complex appeals process, help gather necessary medical evidence, and represent you at your hearing.

What Kind of Evidence Can Help My SSD Appeal?

The type of evidence that can help your SSD appeal largely depends on the nature of your disability. However, in general, comprehensive medical records are crucial. These should include detailed reports from your doctors about your condition, the treatments you’ve tried, and how your disability affects your ability to work.

In addition to medical records, statements from friends, family, or coworkers about how your disability affects your daily life can also be helpful. These statements can provide a more complete picture of your disability and its impact on your ability to work.

How Long Does the SSD Appeal Process Take?

The length of the SSD appeal process can vary greatly depending on the level of appeal and the specifics of your case. In general, the process can take anywhere from a few months to over a year.

The reconsideration stage typically takes a few months. If your claim is denied again and you request a hearing, it can take several months to over a year to get a hearing date due to the backlog of cases. The decision after the hearing can take a few weeks to a few months.

If you request a review by the Appeals Council, the process can take an additional year or more. If you decide to file a lawsuit in federal court, the process can take even longer.

Can I Work While My SSD Appeal Is Pending?

While your SSD appeal is pending, you are technically allowed to work. However, there are strict limits on how much you can earn, and working while your appeal is pending can complicate your case. The SSA might argue that your ability to work, even part-time, shows that you’re not disabled. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced disability attorney before making the decision to work while your appeal is pending.

What Happens If I Can’t Afford Medical Treatment for My Disability?

The SSA relies heavily on medical evidence to determine if you’re disabled. Without this evidence, your claim may be denied. However, there are resources available to help you.

In Arizona, you may qualify for programs like the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), which is Arizona’s Medicaid agency that offers health care programs to serve Arizona residents. Community health clinics also offer services on a sliding fee scale.

What If I Don’t Have Enough Work Credits for SSD?

The SSA requires you to have a certain number of work credits to qualify for SSD. These credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits per year. However, if you don’t have enough work credits, you might still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSI is a program that provides benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. It’s also available to people aged 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. For example, if you’re a freelance writer who hasn’t been able to work consistently due to a debilitating neurological condition, you might not have enough work credits for SSD. However, you could still qualify for SSI based on your limited income and resources.

If you’ve been denied SSD benefits, call Roeschke Law today at 800-975-1866 for a free consultation!

What Are the Financial Limits for Social Security Disability Benefits in Arizona

What Are the Medical Requirements for SSD Benefits?

To qualify for SSD benefits, you must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) definition of disability. The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that are considered so severe that they automatically mean you’re disabled. If your condition is not on this list, the SSA will have to decide if it’s severe enough to qualify. In addition, your disability must have lasted or be expected to last at least one year or result in death, and it must prevent you from doing any substantial gainful work.

What Are the Steps to Apply for SSD Benefits in Arizona?

Applying for SSD benefits involves several steps. First, you must gather all necessary documentation, including medical records, work history, and personal information. Next, you can apply online, by phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. After submitting your application, it will be reviewed for basic eligibility requirements before being sent to the Disability Determination Services office for a medical review.

If you’re denied SSD benefits, don’t lose hope. The appeals process involves several stages. At each stage, your attorney can represent you, present evidence, and argue your case.

What Are the Common Reasons for SSD Benefit Denials?

There are several common reasons why SSD benefit applications are denied. These can include lack of sufficient medical evidence, earning too much income, not following prescribed treatment, or the SSA’s determination that your disability won’t last long enough (at least a year or result in death). Understanding these common pitfalls can help you avoid them when applying for SSD benefits.

What Are the Financial Limits for Social Security Disability Benefits in Arizona?

The SSA determines the amount of benefits you can receive based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security. In 2024, the maximum monthly benefit for a person who starts receiving SSD benefits at full retirement age is $3,822. However, the average SSD benefit amount is significantly lower.

How Does My Work History Affect My SSD Benefits?

The SSA uses a complex formula to calculate your benefits, taking into account your 35 highest-earning years. If you have not worked for 35 years, the SSA will still use 35 years in their calculation, filling in the remaining years with zeros, which can significantly lower your average. For example, let’s say John has worked for 25 years, earning an average of $50,000 per year. The SSA will add up his earnings for those 25 years, but then they will also add ten years of zero earnings to reach the 35-year total. This will lower John’s average earnings and, subsequently, his SSD benefits.

Can I Increase My SSD Benefits in Arizona?

While the financial limits for SSD benefits are set by the federal government, there are certain steps you can take to potentially increase your benefits. One of the most effective ways is by ensuring that all your earnings have been accurately reported to the SSA. If there are any discrepancies or missing information, it could negatively impact your benefits. Another way to potentially increase your benefits is by appealing a decision if you believe the SSA has miscalculated your benefits. A knowledgeable SSD attorney can help you navigate this process and ensure that you’re receiving the maximum benefits to which you’re entitled.

Consider the case of Jane, who noticed that her SSD benefits seemed lower than what she expected based on her earnings history. After consulting with an SSD attorney, they discovered that several years of her earnings had not been reported correctly to the SSA. After correcting this error, Jane’s monthly SSD benefits increased.

What If I’m Self-Employed? How Does That Affect My SSD Benefits?

The SSA does consider self-employment when determining eligibility for SSD benefits. However, they use different criteria to determine whether you’re engaged in “Substantial Gainful Activity” (SGA). For self-employed individuals, the SSA will look at factors such as the amount of time you spend working, the value of your work to your business, and your role in the business. If the SSA determines that your work activity is substantial and gainful, you may not be eligible for SSD benefits.

What If I Have a Part-Time Job? Will It Affect My SSD Benefits?

The SSA considers any work that brings in income over the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit as a potential disqualifier for SSD benefits. However, the SSA does offer work incentives, such as the Trial Work Period (TWP), during which you can still receive full SSD benefits while testing your ability to work. It’s crucial to report any work and earnings to the SSA to avoid potential overpayments or penalties.

How Can an SSD Attorney Help Me Maximize My Benefits?

A knowledgeable SSD attorney can provide invaluable assistance in maximizing your SSD benefits. They can help ensure that all your earnings are accurately reported to the SSA, guide you through the process of appealing a decision, and help you understand the impact of returning to work on your benefits. Moreover, an SSD attorney can help you apply for additional state and federal assistance programs if your SSD benefits aren’t enough to cover your expenses. They can guide you through the application process, help you gather the necessary documentation, and represent you in any hearings or appeals.

Navigating the complexities of SSD benefits can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. An experienced attorney can help ensure you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to and can guide you through the process of applying for SSD benefits. If you’re struggling with the financial limits of your Social Security Disability benefits in Arizona, call Roeschke Law today at 800-975-1866 for a free consultation!

What Steps Should You Take if Denied Reasonable Accommodations in Arizona?

What Are Reasonable Accommodations Under Arizona Law?

In Arizona, reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to a job or employment environment that allow a person with a disability to perform essential job functions. These accommodations are mandated by both federal and state laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Arizona Civil Rights Act. Some reasonable accommodations are providing a sign language interpreter for a deaf employee, allowing a flexible work schedule for someone with a chronic illness, or installing a ramp for a wheelchair user.

What Are My Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Under the ADA, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations that will enable you to perform your job despite your disability. This federal law applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and it prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotions, termination, and all aspects of employment.

If your employer denies your request for accommodations, they must show that the accommodations would cause an undue hardship. This means that the accommodations would be significantly expensive or difficult in relation to the size of the employer, their financial resources, and the nature of their business.

What Are My Rights Under the Arizona Civil Rights Act?

The Arizona Civil Rights Act provides additional protections for workers with disabilities in Arizona. This state law applies to employers with 15 or more employees, and it also prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Under this law, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations, and your employer must provide them unless they can show that this would cause an undue hardship. The Arizona Civil Rights Act also gives you the right to file a complaint with the Arizona Civil Rights Division if your request for accommodations is denied.

What Should I Do If My Request for Reasonable Accommodations Is Denied?

If you’ve requested reasonable accommodations and your employer has denied your request, it’s important to take several steps to protect your rights. First, document everything. Keep a record of your request and any responses you receive. This could be crucial evidence if you need to file a complaint or lawsuit later.

Next, try to resolve the issue with your employer. It’s possible that there’s been a misunderstanding or that your employer isn’t aware of their legal obligations. If you’re unable to resolve the issue, you may need to lodge a complaint with the Arizona Civil Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These agencies can investigate your complaint and may be able to help you obtain the accommodations you need.

How Can I Prove That My Accommodations Are Reasonable?

Proving that your requested accommodations are reasonable can be a complex process. You may need to provide medical documentation or expert testimony to show that your disability requires the accommodations you’ve requested. You’ll also need to show that the accommodations wouldn’t impose an undue hardship on your employer.

What if My Employer Claims They Were Unaware of My Disability?

Sometimes, an employer might claim they were unaware of your disability as a defense for not providing reasonable accommodations. However, under the ADA and the Arizona Civil Rights Act, an employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations begins when they become aware of your disability and your need for accommodations.

What if My Employer Offers an Alternative Accommodation?

In some cases, your employer might offer an alternative accommodation instead of the one you’ve requested. The ADA and the Arizona Civil Rights Act require that employers engage in an interactive process to determine an effective accommodation. This means that your employer can suggest alternatives, but these must still allow you to perform your job effectively.

Can I Be Fired for Requesting Reasonable Accommodations?

Under the ADA and the Arizona Civil Rights Act, it’s illegal for employers to fire employees for requesting reasonable accommodations. This is considered a form of disability discrimination. If you’ve been fired after requesting accommodations, you may have a wrongful termination claim.

What Should I Do If I Face Retaliation for Requesting Accommodations?

If you face retaliation for requesting reasonable accommodations, such as being demoted, harassed, or even fired, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Document any instances of retaliation and report them to your employer’s human resources department. If the retaliation continues, you may need to file a complaint with the EEOC or the Arizona Civil Rights Division.

What Can an Experienced Lawyer Do to Help?

If you’re facing a denial of reasonable accommodations, an experienced lawyer can be a significant help. They can educate you on your rights, gather evidence to support your case, and navigate the complex legal process. They can also negotiate with your employer on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary.

If you’ve been denied reasonable accommodations in Arizona, or if you’ve faced retaliation for requesting accommodations, call Roeschke Law today at 800-975-1866 for a free consultation! They can guide you through the legal process, advocate for your rights, and help you seek the fair treatment you deserve under the law.

How Do Medical Examinations Influence Social Security Disability Decisions in Arizona?

What is the Social Security “Blue Book” and How Does It Apply to My Medical Evaluation?

A proper and sanctioned medical evaluation is critical to applying for Social Security Disability. This medical evaluation gives Social Security a detailed and clear understanding of your disability conditions and the vital information they need to make a qualified and accurate decision on your SSD claim.

According to the SSD rules, these provided physicians use the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security guidelines; this is usually referred to as the blue book and helps them to evaluate you for the type and extent of your disability.

This “Blue Book” includes a detailed listing of disabilities and impairments for adults and children. The book also sets exact requirements for the severity of your symptoms, specific clinical findings, and lab tests needed for each impairment; if found, some impairments may be considered for automatic approval of your SSD application.

Your private healthcare practitioner, working with your skilled and experienced Social Security disability lawyer, can provide you with significant help in determining if you meet the requirements listed in the Blue Book. They will know if you are missing vital information such as lab tests, etc., so you can proactively work to ensure complete documentation (and application), which helps you process your application faster and have a better chance of SSD approval.

Can My Private Doctor Put Me on Social Security Disability?

Even if your condition is not listed in the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security guidelines (Blue Book), you and your Social Security disability lawyer can work to prove that your disability affects your ability to work to a severe degree. Therefore, if you can’t do sustained work or your disability meets specific rules under the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, you may still be able to receive benefits.

Your doctor usually cannot approve you getting SSD benefits, but they will still play a significant and critical part in your application. They will be the first step in providing your medical information, treatment, and prognosis.

However, the Social Security Disability administrators may also ask for additional records, such as;

  • More detailed and thorough medical information or specific medical records.
  • Request specific forms or tests that may not have been initially included.
  • Or (and this is quite common) request a complete medical examination done by their doctors.

It’s always possible that your disability does not meet the requirements for automatic approval under disability law; the claims examiner does have the option of your impairments being considered equivalent to a similar listing or considering a combination of impairments that are not severe enough individually but should be granted benefits when combined.

Applying correctly for SSD benefits is complex; your disability lawyer will significantly help with this process. You must note that many times, it’s highly challenging to prove that an impairment or impairments equal the Blue Book Listings. However, your SSD lawyer will thoroughly know the blue book and the information you need to make your Social Security disability evaluation work in your favor.

Are There Certain Medical Conditions That May Automatically Approve Me For SSD Benefits?

Social Security defines “disability” as that you are “disabled” if you can no longer do any substantial gainful activity due to your current medical or physical condition. Additionally, your present physical (or, at times, mental) impairment could result in your death or has lasted and is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Your experienced Social Security Disability lawyer comprehends that the Social Security Administration’s listings of medical impairments that qualify for disability benefits can be complex and confusing, but also knows how to navigate this treacherous legal path.

You should note that there are types of disabilities that may automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. Some examples of these are:

  • Musculoskeletal system conditions – Including Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, and more.
  • Mental or mood disorders – Such as PTSD, Depression, Schizophrenia, and more.
  • Cardiovascular conditions – These may include angina, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and more.
  • Almost all types of Cancer.
  • Nervous system disorders – Blindness, Parkinson’s disease, and more.

Your Social Security law team, experts and knowledgeable in these applications, will know what to look for and what documentation you need. If you automatically qualify, they will advise you. Please note, however, that the type of disability condition and situation is unique, and your law team will approach it legally in that spirit, providing you with the best chances of success.

What Is a Consultative Examination, and How Can It Affect My SSD Approval?

In more cases than not, when you’re applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you probably will have to attend a disability examination, usually called a consultative examination.

These exams are conducted by medical professionals hired by, or work for, the Social Security Administration (SSA). These medical professionals will assess and confirm your medical condition and help clearly define your physical or mental limitations.

This is a vital area that your experienced and skilled SSD attorney will help you prepare for and ensure you inadvertently don’t say or do anything that may jeopardize the chances of getting SSD benefits.

The consultative examination (CE) is a critical and vital part of the SSD application and evaluation process.

The primary reason for this exam is to provide substantial medical evidence to the Social Security Administration (SSA) so they can make an informed and correct decision on your case. Some of the most important reasons for this exam are;

  • Confirm your disability and medical condition fully.
  • Assess the severity of your condition and evaluate your functional limitations.
  • Assess your mental health.
  • Verify claims your medical team has made.
  • Assist significantly in the approval process.
  • Addressing other specific questions, if needed, and more.

I Must Take a Medical Exam For My SSD Application; How Should I Proceed?

Every day in the U.S., injuries and illness stop hard-working Americans from earning a living. When this occurs in your life, Social Security Disability benefits become vitally important to you and your family.

Consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable San Diego Social Security disability law firm will help to ensure you file correctly and comprehensively the first time. Your Social Security Disability lawyer will always give you the best legal advice on applying, especially what to expect if you must take a physical exam to get approved for your SSD benefits.

The best advice is: Do not try this alone. The San Diego-based Roeschke Law, LLC has a long and winning history of representing SSD clients get the benefits they need and deserve.

Call them today at (800) 975-1866 for a consultation on your case and the informed, knowledgeable, and empathetic representation you and your family deserve.

Can You Receive Both Social Security Disability and Long-Term Disability Insurance Simultaneously?

If I am Injured or a Disabled Person, Should I File for Social Security Disability
Benefits if I Have Long Term Disability Insurance?

First, it’s vital to understand that if you have long-term disability insurance, you can still apply for and receive SSDI simultaneously. There are caveats to doing this, but it may be in your best interests.

Certain benefit programs can conflict with each other (such as unemployment benefits and disability benefits). Still, if you now receive long-term disability, it commonly won’t affect your chances of receiving SSDI.

If you now receive long-term disability and file for SSDI, there might be some offsets, but it could overall be beneficial as you could have a higher net disability income if you file for both.

The Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefit is usually more significant than the SSDI benefit you may receive. However, in some cases, to qualify for LTD benefits, you will probably be required to file for Social Security Disability benefits.

Indeed, most employer-provided LTD policies obligate you to file for SSD benefits as part of the LTD eligibility requirements. Let’s say you get your LTD benefits through your employer; their insurer can invoke the offset provisions by having you file for SSDI, thereby offsetting the LTD insurer’s liability.

The good news is that you usually will have a higher total net benefit income by filing for both. Also, your SSD benefits commonly get COLA increases, while most LTD benefits do not. The LTD benefits you receive will, most likely, remain unchanged until you reach full retirement age. So, by filing for both SSDI and LTD, you are providing yourself and your family with a solid disability “safety net.”

Admittedly, all cases differ, and this can be complex, and filing for both can be challenging and cumbersome, so the help and guidance of a skilled, experienced SSD lawyer is mandatory if you want to obtain the total number of benefits you rightfully deserve.

If I File for SSD and LTD Benefits, How Will “Offsets” Affect My Benefits?

Since the application and approval process is much faster for getting LTD, most LTD benefits are calculated retroactively and for the future. Many applicants can receive an LTD decision in one to three months, but their SSD application may take six months to a year or more to process, and they begin to see benefits.

However, when you get your SSD benefits, you may receive a lump sum award for retroactive benefits while already receiving your LTD payments for many months.

When this occurs, your LTD insurance company will commonly invoke the policy’s “offset provision.” This provision states that you must “reimburse” the LTD insurer for the SSD benefits paid during the same eligibility period for retroactive benefits.

Usually, when you receive LTD and SSDI benefits, a monthly offset will also be applied going forward.

For example, if you file for SSD and LTD benefits simultaneously, your LTD application may be quickly approved, and you begin receiving $5,000 in monthly LTD benefits.

Ten months have passed, and your SSD claim has been approved. You could receive an SSDI retroactive payment of $20,000 plus an ongoing monthly SSD benefit. You have received $50,000 in LTD benefits ($5k/month for ten months = $50,000).

According to your LTD policy terms, you must reimburse the retroactive payment of $20,000 to your LTD insurer because your benefits for retroactive SSDI and LTD eligibility overlap. Also, your LTD benefit will usually be adjusted monthly due to the SSD payments made; all in all, however, by having both benefits, you still will be receiving more each month,

Are There Major Differences Between LTD and SSDI Insurance Benefits,

All disability All types of disability insurance are designed to lessen your financial hardship if you cannot work due to a disability.

SSDI coverage provides essential financial protection to workers, but you must have contributed to Social Security for a significant time.

Usually, all private disability insurance offers more extensive and liberal coverage and possibly more significant benefits.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet Social Security’s strict definition of having a disability.

For example, to get SSDI, you must show that:

  • You can no longer work in your current job.
  • You cannot work or adjust to another job.
  • Your disability prevents you from returning to work for at least a full year.

The most valuable benefit of private disability plans is that they have less restrictive definitions of disability. While SSDI requires total disability, many LTD insurers will pay benefits without requiring individuals to prove they can do no work.

However, LTD plans can be very costly, and definitions of coverage vary, but most have the following three in common:

  • They have “Own occupation” coverage – This insures you against disabilities that prevent you from performing the duties of your job.
  • They will cover “Own occupation” with time limits – So they will help you when you cannot perform your occupational duties for a limited amount of time.
  • They include “Any occupation” coverage – When your disability prevents you from performing any job.

Also, each situation differs, and LTD and SSD plans can be confusing and challenging. It’s always in your best interests to get the professional advice, knowledge, and guidance of a skilled Social Security Disability lawyer to know you’re doing what’s best for you and your family’s future.

Can I Qualify for SSDI If I Have Multiple Disability Conditions?

This is sometimes an overlooked situation, and if you are a disabled person suffering from multiple conditions, the total effect on you may be enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.

However, although you can apply for SSDI benefits if you have multiple disabling conditions, this process can be highly challenging. Many questions arise, and how you present your case to the SSA will often make all the difference in whether you are approved.

When you apply for SSDI benefits, you should list all of your physical and mental impairments that prevent you from doing your job.

Even if you think it is relatively minor, every impairment must be on your application. The analyst who reviews your SSDI application will combine their effects and evaluate your entire level of disability. They then will consider how your conditions work together to affect your ability to do your current job.

So, if you do have multiple conditions, you can be covered, but it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced disability lawyer who will ensure you submit a thorough, detailed, and correct application; applying with multiple conditions is complex, and if not done precisely, you most likely will be denied.

I Must Apply for LTD and SSDI Benefits; How Should I Proceed?

For LTD and SSDI insurance, you must prove that you suffer from a severe enough disability that you can no longer perform your current job or, in some cases, any substantial work.

Gathering all the documentation needed to demonstrate the severity of your disability is a time-consuming and challenging process. Yes, you can submit your application independently, but the likelihood of success will significantly increase when you work with an experienced, empathetic, and knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer.

The skilled and experienced Social Security Disability lawyers at Roeschke Law LLC are proficient and thorough in analyzing your case, gathering all pertinent data, and filling out all parts of these detailed applications correctly the first time.

Call them today at (800) 975-1866, and be assured that they are committed to getting you and your family all the benefits you now need and rightfully deserve.

How Arizona Businesses Comply with Disability Laws Online.

Must My Arizona Business Website Have To Comply With the ADA Requirements?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is broad in scope. Although the new world of digital media can be confusing, most states, including Arizona, are instituting laws that help make websites (and other digital media) more ADA-friendly and compliant.

Thousands of businesses face lawsuits that cite violations under the ADA and other nondiscrimination laws. To avoid these ever-increasing issues, your website needs to be ADA-compliant.

So, as an Arizona business owner, you must ensure that your digital media follows the state’s guidelines and is in line with all ADA requirements. This state commitment covers websites and all digital media so that their websites and all digital media are fully accessible to people with disabilities. These mandates help to ensure inclusivity for all users with disabilities. Arizona strictly enforces website ADA compliance through strict regulations and will apply fines and other consequences for any non-compliance.

The ADA law in Arizona is linked directly to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is the federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This law ensures that all citizens with disabilities are treated fairly and provides reasonable accommodations so that disabled citizens can work with digital media and more.

You should be aware that the most critical reason your websites must be accessible is the growing number of people with disabilities. The World Health Organization and CDC have compiled statistics that show that nearly 26% of America’s population has a disability.

By having an accessible website, you are following state laws and reaching a much broader audience and a vast, mostly overlooked, new market.

The most valid reason is that making your website more accessible for disabled people is the right thing to do. However, digital media is an ever-evolving platform, and to ensure your business is compliant or register a complaint as a disabled person, you should enlist the professional help of a knowledgeable disability law firm.

What Is WCAG and How Does It Affect the Standards For ADA Website Compliance?

As a business owner or a disabled American, it can be challenging to know exactly how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites amidst all the legal changes and jargon. Still, the simple answer is that your website must be compliant.

The ADA itself does not have technical standards for web accessibility, and it is recommended that you refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to evaluate your website and all your digital content. Although WCAG guidelines may not be in Arizona law, past legal rulings and disability claims against businesses have set WCAG 2.0 Level AA as the benchmark for full web accessibility for people with disabilities.

The standards outlined by the WCAG are the benchmark for web and digital accessibility. Recently, the most up-to-date guidelines were published and include 61 criteria for web access that will ensure compliance. These features make your website more accessible, including a screen reader, assistive technology compatibility, clear contrast, the ability to enlarge print, and much more.

If you are a business looking to comply with the WCAG standards, there are four essential accessibility items to always be mindful of they are;

  • Perceivability – All your website content must be detectable to disabled users. This includes users with hearing, visual, or additional sensory impairments.
  • Operability – Your website should be comfortable to navigate for people with disabilities, and its interface should be user-friendly.
  • Understandability – Disabled users must understand web content and navigate the various pages easily.
  • It Should Be Robust – Content for all, including people with disabilities, must be available if your website changes.

Admittedly, this can be challenging to understand, and professional legal and technical help should always be used if you are attempting to ensure ADA compliance and stay out of expensive lawsuits.

How Do I Know My Business Must Comply With the ADA or WCAG Guidelines?

Admittedly, this area is still a bit vague, but based on how the Arizona courts have interpreted the ADA and WCAG standards, ADA web compliance must be followed for businesses with digital media in two significant categories these are;

  • All websites for state or local governments or funded by them – The ADA requires organizations and businesses in these categories to ensure their web content is accessible to those with disabilities.
  • Websites for businesses – Any businesses open to the public must provide complete and equal access to all their web content and digital media to all users, including users with disabilities.

This is a tricky legal area, but over the past 15-20 years, numerous lawsuits and substantial settlements have been filed due to website accessibility barriers for people with disabilities. From 2021 to 2022, there was over a 12% increase in website accessibility lawsuits.

Also, remember that this increase does not include demand letters sent by disabled persons related to web accessibility; that number was over 1,500 per week. These letters typically listed web accessibility problems that disabled Americans found on business sites, and if the proper legal circumstances exist, they may all seek monetary compensation.

What is Arizona’s Current Stance on Website Accessibility?

Arizona’s Website Accessibility Policy and current legislation are trying to establish a statewide policy that provides full accessibility to disabled persons by developing and implementing these features in its Arizona State government websites. Laws and guidelines are being instituted to minimize the technical barriers to accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

For example, all websites covered by Arizona’s accessibility standards must;

  • Use highly contrasting colors.
  • They must-have text for all images.
  • Thorough and properly tagged lists and tables.
  • Have transcripts or captions for all audio and video content.
  • And the websites must provide text-only and downloadable PDF versions of other web content, etc.

This is a lot to keep up with, but every day, more and more lawsuits and valid complaints are being filed by disabled Arizona citizens who cannot use outdated or non-compliant websites. If your business has been exposed to these possibly significant lawsuits, the help of a qualified Arizona disability lawyer is mandatory

I’m An Arizona Business Owner and Must Comply With Arizona’s Website Compliance Guidelines; What Should I Do?

First, understand that the ever-evolving world of digital media is moving forward rapidly, and trying to keep up with constant new legislation requires professional legal and professional help, especially with the current increase in noncompliance lawsuits.

You probably have technical support, but you also need the professional advice of a skilled and experienced Social Security Disability lawyer to stay ahead of issues and expensive lawsuits.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers at Roeschke Law know the ins and outs of disability law and can help you avoid possible fines by the state or, worse, the impact of significant lawsuits. Call them today at (800) 975-1866, as they have the resources and lengthy experience to keep your business’s online platform legal and compliant.

How Long Do Arizonans Typically Wait for Social Security Disability Approvals?

Is There Any Waiting Period Before I Can Apply for Social Security Disability in Arizona?

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is always a challenging and lengthy process. This is why most people attempting to navigate the process alone get incorrect applications returned, must start over, or even are denied.

There is commonly a “waiting period” before you can apply for SSD benefits that lasts for five whole months after the onset of your disability.

However, if your approval for disability benefits lasts more than five months, you may receive a “retroactive payment” for the extra months. For example, if you are approved ten months after your disability began, you could get a retroactive payment for five months all at once. There is also no waiting period if you apply for childhood disability benefits (CDB).

All disability cases have unique circumstances, but as a general rule, if you apply for SSD in Arizona, it usually takes one to five months for your initial application to be reviewed and decided upon.

This is only a general rule, and the process may take longer in many cases. This would depend on your case’s complexity and the Social Security Administration (SSA) workload in your area.

Once the SSA has decided on your case, you will get a disability determination notice. This letter states whether they’ve approved or denied your application. However, these letters can have caveats and be confusing. Even if you’re approved, you should consult with a skilled, experienced Social Security Disability lawyer to ensure you understand it thoroughly. This is especially true if you are initially denied, as you should appeal, as there are deadlines, etc., that must be dealt with professionally.

The only valid way to speed up this usually daunting and lengthy process is to obtain the help of a qualified, thorough, and diligent SSD law team. Mistakes on applications, missing paperwork, etc., will all make this process longer and may even get you denied. Your SSD lawyer will always ensure that your paperwork is handled professionally, no mistakes are made, and you apply for all the benefits you’re entitled to.

What Does The SSA Do When Making a Decision on My Application

When the SSA gets your full application, along with all the documentation and contact information needed, they send it to the state agency that makes disability decisions.

The SSA has medical and vocational experts who will contact all your doctors, physical therapists, etc., and get a complete and detailed report on your condition, your prognosis, and more.

Usually, you will be sent another set of forms to complete or even be asked to have an examination or other medical testing at one of their designated doctors.

It’s vital to note that if the SSA does request additional examinations or testing, you must always follow through and go to any appointment they set up. Commonly, you will not pay out of pocket for any of these further examinations or tests, but taking them is critical to the approval process.

This is another part of the process where the help and guidance of your Social Security Disability lawyer will prove invaluable to your success. The application process can get highly complex, and dealing with the SSA is a skill that your law team has developed over time, and this skill can significantly aid in your SSD approval.

What If, After Five or Ten Months, the SSA Denies My Application?

Going into this application process, be aware that the SSA will often turn down your first application for disability benefits. However, you have options, and you can request a different examiner or medical group to reconsider your claim, among other things.

Also, if initially denied, you and your lawyer can file for a hearing with an SSA administrative judge. The SSA has a singular system formed and operated solely for this purpose.

You must go to a hearing, which is often required, before getting your SSD approval. These hearings commonly result in about twenty-five percent of SSD applicants getting the benefits they deserve.

These hearings usually last about an hour but could last considerably longer, depending on the complexity and circumstances of your case.

Also, Social Security Disability hearings can take place in different places and ways, such as:

  • Both you and your SSDI Lawyer can go to a Social Security Administration (SSA) office in your area.
  • Many hearings are currently held online in your lawyer’s office.
  • Some can be done with a simple phone call.
  • Additionally, teleconferences can be held at an SSA facility if you don’t have the needed tech equipment.

This is just another reason that the help of a skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable SSDI lawyer is mandatory. These hearings are not trials and are much less formal; it is always in your best interests to have your SSDI lawyer by your side.

Are There Ways I Can Speed Up the SSD Application Process?

Yes, there are ways to attempt to speed up this application process, and your experienced SSD lawyer will be able to help you the most in this regard.

For example, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can expedite processing for certain applicants with specific medical conditions, facing challenging circumstances, or serving in the U.S. military. If you aren’t in one of these groups, there still are steps you can take to try to speed up the process.

Your lawyer will explain that if your medical condition qualifies, you may be entitled to expedited processing under two Social Security programs, “Compassionate Allowances” and “Quick Disability Determinations” (QDD). A little over 175,000 claims yearly are fast-tracked, especially if your lawyer files their applications electronically and online.

You don’t have to ask for a Compassionate Allowance or QDD, as the Social Security Administration uses digital means to flag potentially eligible applications. However, your lawyer will usually know if you have a qualifying condition, and all disability experts know that it won’t hurt to note that on your application form.

I Need To File For Social Security Disability and Need My Benefits Fast; How Should I Proceed?

The best advice if you want to expedite the application process for receiving Social Security Disability benefits is not to attempt to navigate this government maze alone. An experienced, knowledgeable, and thorough SSD lawyer will take the time needed to analyze your singular case and its specifics thoroughly, help you process it efficiently and correctly, and cut through as much of the red government tape as possible.

Your lawyer may also know more about what benefits you may be missing and will work tirelessly to help you get all you deserve.

The Social Security Disability lawyers at Roeschke Law LLC are dedicated to giving you informed, empathetic, caring, and efficient means to apply for and receive the SSD you are entitled to.

Call them today at (800) 975-1866 for a complete case evaluation on how to proceed most effectively to obtain the total Social Security Disability benefits you and your family need.

What are the Top Mistakes Made When Applying for Social Security Disability in Arizona?

What Can I Do To Improve My Chances of Getting the Social Security Benefits I Deserve?

You have worked diligently and hard all your life, but now you find yourself in a dire situation where you must apply for Social Security disability benefits. This is a challenging and sometimes emotional decision, but you earned these rights, and they’re meant to be there when you need the

Every year, millions of Americans and their families face this issue, and if you currently have a disability from an accident or illness, you need these benefits now. However, when starting the application process, it can be overwhelming. Even if you make a mistake on any of the numerous documents needed, you could have to start over or just be denied benefits.

Therefore, it’s always prudent and wise to consult with a disability law firm and obtain their professional assistance throughout the process. Your SSD lawyer is experienced and well-versed in knowing how to analyze your case, what to include in the application, and what is required to get the benefits you are entitled to.

Each case is unique, but the items below will improve your chances of getting the needed benefits.

  • File your claim as soon as possible – Never hesitate to start your application, as you need benefits now, which could be a lengthy process.
  • If you must appeal, do it within 60 days – If you are initially rejected, your lawyer will expedite your appeal while your case is still active.
  • Provide full and inclusive disclosure of your medical history and treatment – Thorough and detailed medical information is vital to approve your claim; your SSD lawyer is an expert at gathering what’s necessary.
  • Provide recent proof of your current treatment – This is vital information that helps prove that you are still suffering from your injury or ailment and being actively treated.
  • Report all your symptoms accurately, don’t exaggerateBe accurate in all your information, but do not embellish or lessen it.

Your case is unique, and more may be needed, but these documents, forms, and information must be complete, in-depth, and comprehensive. Ensuring all these forms are filled out correctly is mandatory for your SSD approval, and consulting with your Social Security Disability lawyer will significantly increase your chances of getting the benefits you need.

What Are Some of the Most Common Mistakes When Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits is always challenging and usually highly frustrating if you try to do it alone. There’s also the chance that you are missing benefits that your lawyer would know about and, therefore, you don’t get what you deserve.

For example, if denied, many people fail to appeal or don’t follow through on the ongoing medical care they need. Although the SSA does outline how to apply for disability benefits, the wise move is never to attempt to apply for these benefits on your own.

The most common mistakes that people make when applying are;

  • Always thoroughly do your researchDo your research and find out all the available benefit options, check to see if you qualify, and get organized.
  • Check the status of your claim regularly – Even minor issues may delay your case, but if you’re aware of them and they are corrected, this will move your case along much more rapidly.
  • Missing appointments or deadlines – Deadlines on all applications are critical. For example, if you are denied, you have 60 days from receiving your denial notice to request an appeal or start over.
  • Never exaggerate your illness or disability – Always be as truthful as possible about your disability and the dire impact it has had on your life. Honesty is critical in your application process.
  • ·Continue to receive your medical treatment – Solid and current evidence must prove that your medical condition doesn’t allow you to work at your current job.

The most common and harmful error you can make is believing you can handle your application and case alone. This is the most common reason your claim may be denied. Therefore, if you want your application done precisely, correctly, and rapidly, you should always enlist the help of a qualified, professional San Diego Social Security Disability lawyer to assist in this process from beginning to end.

If My Application Is Incomplete, Will I Automatically Be Denied Benefits?

Unfortunately, yes, that may be the case. Filling out your application is your first (and possibly last) chance to tell your story to the SSA. So, it would be best if you were specific and detailed in the application and process.

The SSA will only use the information you initially provide to evaluate your claim. You could be denied if you miss or don’t provide enough detail.

The SSA will use the names, dates, and contact information you provide to search your medical records. They will usually order records up to 1 year before you tell them that your disability began. If you omit past medical providers’ contact information, they will not be able to get records in that period; this will almost always hurt your case and impact their final decisions.

Remember, you are entitled to these benefits, but you will only get what you deserve if the SSA has a complete list of your conditions. Applying correctly, with all the proper information, is critical to receiving your benefits, and your skilled, thorough, and experienced SSD lawyer is well-versed in this challenging matter.

What Does the SSA Use To Make Decisions on My Eligibility For SSD Benefits?

Deciding on your benefits is a highly detailed process, as the SSA must determine if you are genuinely disabled and receive benefits.

They usually start with your job and if you still can perform it. They must also know if you learned other skills while doing your recent job. The SSA will not deem you disabled (or provide benefits) unless your illnesses, injuries, or conditions prevent you from doing your job.

All information regarding your education and training is vital to this process. They may feel you can’t do your current job, but you might be suitable for other work due to your age, education, training, and work experience.

Always remember that each SSD case differs, but your skilled disability lawyer is highly familiar with how the SSA makes decisions and will provide all the documents and proof possible to validate and successfully prove your case and receive the benefits you deserve.

I Should Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits; How Should I Proceed?

At any moment, illness or injury can cut you off from earning a living for yourself and your family. This is when Social Security Disability benefits become vitally important to your future. However, this application process is daunting, overwhelming, and complex and involves stacks of documents, medical records, and much more.

Consulting with an experienced, knowledgeable, empathetic, and thorough San Diego Social Security Disability lawyer will help to ensure you file correctly and comprehensively the first time.

The disability lawyers at Roeschke Law, LLC understand how complex this process is, especially while coping with a dire medical condition. But they stand ready to provide you with professional representation in a caring, professional, communicative, and detailed manner.

Call them today at (800) 975-1866, and they will help to ensure you obtain the disability benefits you need and rightfully deserve.

Woman sitting with SSDI attorney

What Medical Conditions Qualify Someone for SSD Benefits?

Nobody wants to be dependent on the government to make ends meet. But when medical conditions prevent you from working, few other options exist. 

Social Security Disability (SSD) exists to provide for those unlucky few who are incapable of making a living due to a medical condition. But because it is a government program, there is a lot of red tape involved with getting SSD benefits.

The first requirement is having a condition that qualifies. Not all medical conditions that limit your ability to work will qualify you for SSD. And some conditions may qualify you only if you put in the extra effort. When navigating SSD, it is best to get advice from a disability attorney.

Social Security Maintains a List of Qualifying Conditions

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of conditions that qualify for SSD. This list includes:

  • Immune system disorders
  • Mental disorders such as depression or autism
  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Impaired vision, speech, or hearing
  • Respiratory dysfunction
  • Neurological disorders like epilepsy
  • Blood disorders
  • Cardiovascular conditions

If you have one of the conditions on this list and it impairs your ability to work, you qualify for SSD. This list is specific to adults. Children can also qualify and have a nearly identical list that also includes growth impairment.

Proving Your Condition Qualifies

Just because you know you have a medical condition that qualifies, that doesn’t mean the SSA is aware. To receive SSD benefits, you need to prove that your condition qualifies.

To prove your condition qualifies, you will need a physical examination from a doctor. An examination from your personal physician is usually sufficient to prove that your condition exists but may not be sufficient to prove it impairs your ability to work. For the latter, you will likely need to be examined by an independent physician.

No matter who is examining you, the more evidence you can provide to the SSA, the better. The best evidence comes from the results of tests like:

  • MRIs
  • CAT scans
  • X-rays
  • Blood work panels

Unlike the opinion of a doctor or therapist, this type of evidence is more difficult to refute.

Medical Conditions Not on the List

If you have a medical condition that isn’t on the approved list, you may still qualify for SSD benefits. However, to do so, you have more work to do.

The main hurdle is that you need to prove that your medical condition significantly limits your ability to work. A doctor will test your capacity to function for extended periods to determine this. 

These tests are both for active work and sedentary work. Thus, if you can effectively sit at a desk for eight hours a day, it doesn’t matter that you can’t perform physical labor for that period.

If the tests reveal that you have minimal or no ability to work for extended periods, then it doesn’t matter if your medical condition is not on the official list. That is all of the proof you need that your medical condition qualifies you to receive SSD benefits.

Appealing a Decision by Social Security

Even if you should qualify, you might be turned down for benefits by the SSA. If this happens, you can appeal the decision. Before you appeal any decision, you should hire an experienced Social Security attorney.

Social Security attorneys are familiar with what evidence is most likely to get you benefits and know how to navigate the system. Your chance of succeeding on an appeal is much higher if you have a Phoenix, AZ, disability attorney from Roeschke Law, LLC, representing you. Get in touch with our office today.

Older woman upset about being scammed

Social Security Scams and How to Avoid Them

Scam artists can strike anyone, young or old. New scams are being reported all of the time and are becoming more sophisticated. Social Security scams are well-documented. With millions of people each year receiving benefits, it’s not surprising that these people become victims.

The most common tactic is for a scammer to impersonate someone who works for the Social Security Administration (SSA). The goal of any contact made by a scammer is to obtain and then exploit legitimate Social Security numbers and personal information. 

Common Ways Scammers Make Contact

There are several ways in which scammers will try to trick you into giving them your information. Most often, they will reach out to you as if they are a government employee. They may even have some of your information that makes them seem to be more legitimate. 

Common ways a scammer will contact you include:

  • Phone calls that warn of improper Social Security activity and threaten jail time or fines
  • Friendly phone calls trying to sell SSA services
  • Phishing emails that appear to be from the SSA
  • Fake letters that purport to be from the SSA

At times, it can be difficult to determine what is fake and what is real when it comes to scammers and their artistry. They set out to be deceptive and are quite adept at seeming legitimate.

Ways to Recognize a Scam

There are certain times the Social Security Administration may reach out to you by phone, but telltale signs can let you know when a caller is not with the SSA. When Social Security makes contact, they will never:

  • Make any kind of threat to you
  • Ask for your Social Security number
  • Suspend your Social Security account or number
  • Require that you make an immediate payment
  • Ask for payment by cash, wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or gift card

Social Security may also contact you by email or text messages to make you aware of certain services. SSA will never ask you to return a phone call to an unknown number. 

What to Do if You Suspect You Are on a Fake Call

Social Security scam artists can sound convincing. They can give themselves fake but official-sounding titles, some of which are authentic. Some things to keep in mind if you receive a fake phone call include:

  • Be skeptical if someone calls claiming to be from the SSA
  • If you feel uneasy, simply hang up the phone
  • Call Social Security customer service at 800-772-1213 to ask if someone was trying to reach you
  • Do not click on any email links in a purported SSA email

You may not always know when you’re giving information to a scammer. Following the above tips can help you avoid the unintended consequences of sharing your information with someone whose intention is to exploit your identity.

What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed

If you think you have been the victim of a Social Security scam, you should report it immediately. Call the customer service line listed above and they can connect you with the SSA Office of Inspector General Fraud. You can also report the scam at oig.ssa.gov.

Other steps to take include:

  • Set up credit monitoring — banks sometimes provide this service for free
  • Place a credit freeze on your account with the all credit reporting agencies
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report — this requires businesses to contact you if someone tries to open an account
  • Contact a Social Security attorney

Roeschke Law in Phoenix, AZ, handles Social Security disability claims. If you receive SSA benefits and have been the victim of fraud, call today.