New Hampshire Social Security Disability Lawyer
The Social Security disability claims process in New Hampshire begins with an initial application, which one can start by simply going onto the disability application platform on the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) website or by calling SSA's toll free number (at 1-800-772-1213). One can also begin the process by contacting their local Social Security office in New Hampshire or by using the Social Security field office locator. However, because SSA is not allowed to provide you with legal advice, it is advisable for you to consult with a NH Social Security Lawyer who specializes in Social Security Disability Claims prior to starting your application so as to get useful information from them about the process and what steps you should take together so as to avoid what may be a lengthy appeal process. Should one face an initial denial, it is not unusual to go through what can be a 12 to 18 month appeals process that now includes a request for reconsideration and ultimately a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Obtaining a New Hampshire Social Security attorney who only rarely handles Social Security claims will leave you at a strong disadvantage. Not only is it important for the attorney to know the importance placed on the various procedures and forms you'll undertake with Disability Determination Services (the state agency placed in charge of evaluating whether one remains "disabled" as that term is defined by the Social Security Act and its regulations), but also the laws in place as to how such claims are analyzed. Unfortunately, our office sees too many individuals who contact us after they have been denied their claim (and many times after having gone through the hearing process). Many of them were not properly advised as to the types of treatment they should have been receiving or their attorney/representative failed to work with them to obtain helpful additional medical documentation that would support their claim for benefits. Moreover, in the event it becomes necessary to attend a hearing, you want a lawyer who has handled 1000's of claims over many years for a number of reasons: they will know how best to present your case (both in terms of documentation, but also in terms of arguing your case both in writing and orally at hearing for you) and they will be familiar with the judges you might appear in front of from past experience. There is nothing to replace the wisdom of experience Attorney Russell Goldsmith will be happy to share with you as part of his personal involvement in your case.
Likewise, there are a number of considerations one needs to take into account when thinking about proceeding with their application for benefits. For one, if treatment has not been consistent and zealous, you may find that your claim is denied as you have not been able to prove that your case remains severe and disabling "despite prescribed treatment." A New Hampshire Social Security lawyer will discuss with you the various insurance options and free treatment options available throughout the state. For instance, we frequently will refer individuals to the free treatment programs available through the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, which has treatment sites throughout the state (including but not limited to locations in Bedford, NH, Brattleboro, VT, Concord, NH, Derry, NH, Keene, NH, Lebanon, NH, Manchester, NH, Manchester Centre, VT, Merrimack, NH, Milford, NH, Peterborough, NH, St. Johnsbury, VT and Walpole, NH. Likewise, there are additional facilities such as Catholic Medical Center out of Manchester, NH that provides low cost and no cost medical services through it's own charitable program as well as through the non-profit program called the NH Health Access Network (which has a network of providers throughout New Hampshire who stand willing and able to provide reduced cost and no cost medical services to those in need). Likewise, it's important that individuals without resources and long-term disabled look into applying for Medicaid insurance assistance as part of their application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
SSA would expect to see you that you are exhausting treatment options in an attempt to get well enough to work: if you are not in treatment with specialists or if you are not undertaking the types of treatment modalities normally thought to be helpful with your particular medical condition(s), this can prove to be a basis for a denial. Likewise, it is important to go over with your NH Social Security lawyer your past work history (along with your educational and training history) so as to ensure that there would not be jobs potentially suitable for you and your particular medical circumstances. The assistance of a knowledgeable and diligent lawyer will ensure that the appropriate medical documentation is obtained so as to document the objective severity of your condition and how it impacts you from being able to work both your prior jobs as well as any other jobs that might prove suitable in light of your age, education and experience and functional (both physical and mental) limitations.
In New Hampshire, if one is denied on their initial application (which process can take anywhere from what is ordinarily 2 to 6 months), one has a right to request reconsideration within a period of sixty-five (65) days): that is, a period of sixty (60) plus five (5) days provided given what is presumed to be receipt within 5 days of mailing of the denial letter. The rate of denial at the reconsideration level is quite high, and so it is quite expected that one would then need to file a request for hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, once again within 65 days from the date on the denial letter. The present wait for a hearing in NH depends on whether one opts to wait for an in person hearing or they in fact are willing to agree to a video hearing. Your file will be transferred to the Office of Hearing Operations in Manchester, New Hampshire, where there are presently nine (9) judges assigned to the office: ALJs Lisa Groeneveld-Meijer, Tracy LaChance, Matthew Levin, Matthew Malfa, Edward Malvey, Paul Martin, Joshua Menard, Thomas Merrill and Dory Sutker. Depending on where you reside, you may likewise see your case heard at the Lawrence, Massachusetts ODAR. The Lawrence ODAR office presently has six (6) judges assigned to hold hearings: ALJs Jonathan Baird, Timothy Belford, John Benson, Ellen Bush, Anthony Dziepak and Eric Eklund. Should your case need to proceed to the hearing level, it still may not be necessary to go to a hearing. Depending on the particular case, it may be possible for your attorney to present a brief (that is, a written argument letter) in advance of hearing requesting that the hearing office provide a favorable decision. The hearing office may attempt to schedule your case for hearing with a judge in another part of the country if you do not object to proceeding by VTC (video teleconference). You do have a right to an in person hearing in New Hampshire and may simply object to proceeding by way of VTC (which is how we ordinarily proceed). Beginning in the spring of 2021, given the COVID-19 pandemic, hearing offices will begin holding hearings by video conferencing the parties through the Microsoft Office Teams platform from wherever they are located. While in person hearings are much more personable, the pandemic has caused Social Security's Office of Hearing Operations to find a new way to safely conduct hearings for all involved.
Should one show up at a hearing without representation, one will discover that the Administrative Law Judge in New Hampshire will be sure to advise you of your right to representation (and will attempt to provide you with every opportunity to obtain such representation prior to proceeding to hearing alone). A zealous New Hampshire Social Security Lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected at hearing, that the medical record is complete for the ALJ who will be hearing your case and that appropriate evidence has been submitted on your behalf that supports your contention that you've remained disabled from working all manner of gainful employment for longer than a year. Thus, obtaining legal assistance in this process as early as possible is always in your best interest.
CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF RUSSELL J. GOLDSMITH NOW TO HEAR HOW WE CAN ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR INITIAL CLAIM OR APPEAL. WE HAVE BEEN HANDLING SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY CLAIMS THROUGHOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE PORTSMOUTH, DOVER, SEACOAST NH, BEDFORD, GREATER MANCHESTER , KEENE, NASHUA, AND CONCORD NH AREAS) FOR 31 years.