| Read Time: 6 minutes | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Requirements You Must Consider

If you are an individual living with a disability, both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs can provide you with critical financial assistance while you are unable to work. Unfortunately, Social Security disability requirements are complex and often confusing to understand. As a result, many applicants who legitimately qualify for benefits get their claims denied. You have the right to appeal a denial of benefits in most cases. However, you could fight for months or years only to receive additional denials. The Social Security disability attorneys at Gerling Law understand these challenges, and we are prepared to fight to get you the benefits you deserve. We can help you understand the Social Security disability criteria, the application process, and how to proceed if your claim was already denied. Understanding the Social Security Disability Claims Process To apply for SSDI or SSI, you must follow the process required by the Social Security Administration (SSA), using the forms and format that the agency requires. If you deviate from the process in any way, the SSA may automatically deny your claim. Your application must include all required documentation and medical records. Most important, your application must clearly represent how your condition affects your ability to work. Once you complete your application and submit it to the SSA, the agency will put it into the queue for evaluation by a reviewer. Reviewer comments are typically returned within approximately three to six months. If the SSA approves your application, your benefits could begin in as little as four weeks. If the SSA denies your application, however, you have a limited amount of time—typically 60 days—to submit a request for reconsideration, or RFR. Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits? The criteria for determining whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits depends on which type of benefits you plan to apply for. Each type of disability benefits requires a unique criteria for qualification. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) SSDI benefits are specifically for disabled workers, adult children with disabilities, disabled widows or widowers of qualified benefits recipients, and divorced spouses with disabilities. To qualify for SSDI, you (or the qualified party) must have had a job for a long enough period and paid the required amount of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes to become fully insured by the SSA. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Impoverished senior adults and disabled persons who have not worked long enough or paid enough FICA taxes to qualify for SSDI may qualify for SSI, provided they meet the stated guidelines for income and assets. Finally, you must have an accepted condition that prevents you from functioning sufficiently to fulfill work duties. What Conditions Does Social Security Consider as Disability? If you suffer from a mental or physical impairment that prevents you from performing your job duties, the SSA may deem you as having a qualifying disability. Any disability condition must qualify as either life-threatening or of sufficient severity to prevent the applicant from working for one year or longer. If your condition is already included in the official SSA list of acceptable conditions (a document known as the Listing of Impairments, more commonly referred to as the SSA Blue Book), the application process may be easier. However, if you have a condition that is not included in the Blue Book, you can still qualify for benefits. The only difference is that your application must document the condition sufficiently, specifically in the way it prevents you from working. Documenting your condition is one of the most critical aspects of a successful benefits claim. Providing too little documentation can lead to a denial of your application. Providing too much documentation can also interfere with getting claim approval. For this reason, it is critical to have both an attorney and a medical provider who understand the process and what the SSA needs to approve your claim. In most cases, a formal medical assessment known as a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment will form the basis of your claim. The medical professional who administers this assessment must be appropriately qualified under the SSA’s criteria. If you have your RFC performed by a doctor or another medical treatment professional who doesn’t know how to conduct or document your RFC assessment, or if the doctor is not qualified to perform the assessment, it could lead to a denial of your claim.  Does Mental Illness Qualify for Social Security Disability? You may be entitled to receive SSDI benefits if mental illness affects your ability to work.  Just as with a physical condition, any qualifying mental illness must prevent you from working for at least a year. The condition must also prevent you from being successfully trained to work in another position or in another capacity. Your functional assessment must be performed and documented by a qualified psychiatrist, psychologist, or other accepted treatment professional. Some of the most common types of mental illness that could qualify for SSDI include dementia, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and a variety of other personality and affective disorders. What If Your Social Security Disability Claim Was Denied? The SSA commonly denies initial disability claim applications. The good news is that if you receive a denial, it doesn’t automatically mean you don’t qualify for or won’t get your benefits. If you do receive a denial, you have only 60 days to request a formal review. If you don’t request a reconsideration within this period, you will have to submit a new application and restart the process. Once the SSA receives your formal request for review, it will assign a new reviewer to your case. Once this occurs, the process for review typically takes three to four months before the reviewer issues a decision. If you receive a second denial, you can request a formal hearing for your claim. However, you must submit your request within 60 days. A formal hearing could take up to two years to take place. An administrative law judge (ALJ) oversees the...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Social Security Disability

What Conditions Automatically Qualify You for Disability?

When you develop a medical condition that impedes your ability to hold a job, it can significantly impact your life. There are no two ways about it. In such a situation, it is important to figure out what options you have for financial help, including disability benefits. After developing a life-altering medical condition, you may find yourself wondering, Do I qualify for disability? The answer to this question is not always cut and dried. That said, there are a number of conditions that automatically meet social security disability qualifications by definition. Other conditions can qualify you for an expedited decision on your application but are not automatic. Whatever your questions are, Gerling Law is here to help you navigate the disability application process from start to finish. What Conditions Qualify You for Disability? Some medical conditions will, with a diagnosis, automatically qualify you for disability. You can find these conditions on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowances List (CAL). With a medical diagnosis of one of the conditions on this list, you will, by definition, qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both. SSA has published a complete list of all CAL medical conditions here. The list is too long for this piece, but some of the notable medical conditions on the CAL include: Adult non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Adult-onset Huntington’s disease, Anaplastic adrenal cancer, Bladder cancer,  Batten disease, Canavan disease (CD), Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Esophageal cancer, Gallbladder cancer, Heart transplant waitlist, Inflammatory breast cancer, Lou Gherig’s disease (ALS), Pancreatic cancer, Small cell lung cancer, and Stage IV breast cancer. If you have a medical diagnosis of one of the diseases noted on the CAL, the SSA simply requires proof of that medical diagnosis for approval of your application for benefits. Suppose you are applying for disability benefits on the basis of one of the conditions in the CAL. In such a case, you do not need to do anything different in your application than you would for any other medical condition. Simply submit the application with the required materials. Once your application is received, it will be flagged automatically by the SSA system for expedited review. The Importance of Documentation Maintaining proper documentation of your medical diagnosis is critically important in the application process. Your medical diagnosis is the most indisputable documentation and record of your medical condition and disability. This is what the SSA will look at, so we cannot overstate the importance of keeping track of it.  It is also important to document your symptoms before and after you go to the doctor. If you make a journal of symptoms and bring it to medical appointments, it will help your service providers make an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is critical. Documenting symptoms is also a great help in managing your disability. How to Submit Your Application There are three ways to submit your application for disability benefits to the SSA. The first way to apply is to do so in person. For this, simply go to the closest Social Security office. To apply in person, you do not need an appointment. The SSA’s online field office locator tool will help you find the office closest to you. If you don’t want to apply in person, you can call 800-772-1213 to schedule a phone appointment with an SSA agent. The third option to apply for SSA disability benefits is to use their online application tool. To apply online, visit www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/ on the SSA website. You will also find more detailed information on the application process on this web page, so be sure to give it a visit even if you plan to apply in person. If you have any questions or troubles with the SSA disability application process, contact us at Gerling Law today. Our disability attorneys have extensive experience helping people claim their disability benefits. From wrongful denials to application and administrative details, our disability attorneys have seen it all and are here to help you. Don’t just take our word for it; be sure to check out our testimonials page to see how we have helped our clients in the past. If you need help, reach out and tell us your story in a free consultation, and we’ll do our best to make things right. Remember Go with Experience. Go with Gerling®

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Social Security Disability

The Benefits of Benefits

You may be aware of the struggle some folks face when it comes to obtaining social security disability benefits. If you have ever considered applying because you qualify, but have wondered if it is worth it, here is your sign: it is! Social Security disability benefits could be the only thing standing in the way of your and your loved ones living comfortably. Stability in Finances A serious concern for most people is household finances. The average American household spends over $1,500 a month on necessary items, such as bills or groceries. Unfortunately, if you are disabled, one of your main worries is how you are going to pay for these things. However, by applying for SSI or SSDI, you start the process of possibly overcoming that financial concern. On average, monthly payments can range from $700 to $1700. This payment replaces what would be income from a steady job. Insurance Coverage Maybe this is something you would consider with your finances. However, once you are approved for social security, you no longer need to worry about medical coverage. So, depending on the type of benefits you apply for, SSI or SSDI, your medical costs will be low or reduced. We understand that with a disability comes what seems like an endless amount of doctors appointments. As a result, it doesn’t take long for those bills to start adding up. So, if this is something you might be worried about, it would be beneficial for you to apply for social security disability. However, don’t expect to be approved right away. As mentioned above, sometimes the process can seem tedious. But, it is worth it in the end if you receive an approval. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Social Security Disability

Timing is critical with Social Security Disability

Timing is a critical factor in seeking Social Security Disability because each step of the process is dependent on the step that comes before it. One of the foundation blocks of basic computer programming is the conditional construct. The creator of the program establishes the computer’s task with if-then statements. We use them in real life too. A simple example would be to say, if A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C. There Are Many Factors Conditional statements are also part of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance. If an applicant fails to take specific steps, in the right order, then benefits are denied. Trying to trace all the possible if-then conditions can be dizzying. So, here’s one more for you. If this cycle baffles you, an attorney can help you get through the SSDI application maze. The SSD System is full of quirks One of the things that can catch many people in Indiana up short when it comes to claiming SSDI is that they find out the quirks of the system too late. In the simplest of terms, here is how it works. SSDI is insurance. Worker and employers pay the premium on the insurance through Social Security taxes. So what happens if the worker and his employer no longer pay the premium? Coverage fades away. When it disappears is called the date last insured (DLI). DLI might come weeks, months or years down the road. What can happen is that a disabled worker leaves his or her job, but doesn’t take immediate steps to start an SSD application? Coverage fades away. And if the disabled worker applies for benefits after the DLI expiration, application denial follows. It’s Possible to Prevent This But, it is possible to extend SSDI coverage beyond your DLI if you establish a “protective filing date.” To get more time, inform the Social Security Administration that you intend to file for disability benefits. You can do this in writing. Alternatively, if you start the online application process, the date of your application can serve as the protective filing date. The value of early notification is that an applicant remains eligible for SSDI even if the paperwork isn’t filed until after DLI expiration. If you doubted the value of early reporting of a disability, then this should clear it up: timing is critical! Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Social Security Disability

Social Security heads to the Supreme Court

How does the goverment decide who gets Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)? First, you need to know that SSDI is available when qualifying U.S. workers become totally disabled from working. Second, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether workers are disabled based on a combination of their medical history and an assessment of their realistic job opportunities. And, a vocational expert typically performs the assessment. What is a vocational expert? Vocational experts know all about the current job climate and the skills and requirements needed for certain jobs. For example, let’s say this expert determines that your disability would not prevent you from getting a different job. You disagree. Should you be allowed to examine the data the expert used to come to that conclusion? Of course, you’re going to want that data. If the expert won’t share their data, should the expert’s conclusion stand? The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about this question in the upcoming fall term. The case involves a carpenter and laborer who stopped working in 2005. The worker claimed he could not work , because he had Hepatitis C, degenerative disc disease and depression. He applied for SSDI in 2009, but he was turned down in 2010 by the SSA. Next, his initial appeal to the SSA’s appeals council was rejected. After that, he won a second appeal, which sent the case back to the SSA. On this second consideration, the SSA determined that the worker had become disabled in 2013, not in 2009 or earlier. Then the worker continued to appeal, but a federal appellate panel upheld the SSA’s 2013 ruling. However, the panel did say that the vocational expert’s testimony didn’t portray the man’s physical limitations fairly. Fight for the Data The worker did not give up. In his appeal to the Supreme Court, the man raised the issue of the vocational expert’s underlying data. He had tried to obtain the data, but the expert had refused to share, based on “the confidentiality of her files.” Under this scenario, it is unclear why her files should be held confidential, especially from their subject, the worker. However, the expert still refused to provide the background data even in redacted form. Now the disabled man asserts that the SSA declined to date his disability back to 2009 based only on the testimony of the vocational expert. In order to obtain the relief, the worker claims he needs to be able to effectively challenge the findings of the vocational expert. Moreover, he cannot do so because she won’t release the underlying materials. What the Supreme Court Will Consider Counsel for the SSA has argued that the Second, Sixth and Ninth federal circuits ruled that experts do not need to release the underlying data in order for their conclusions to be relied upon by SSA judges. However, counsel for the worker has argued that the Seventh Circuit ruled the opposite way. Therefore, these contradictory rulings created a “circuit split.” . The Supreme Court will consider these issues when hearing this case in the fall. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | news

DENIED: Overcoming the Challenges of SSDI

Did you know that most people find getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to be quite the challenge? Well, it’s no secret to our legal team, because we handle SSDI cases everyday. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies almost everyone the first time they apply. So, don’t feel too disheartened if the SSA sends back your first claim “denied.” How to avoid SSDI “denial” First, your disability must be on the SSA’s list of disabilities. Next, you must provide the right medical documents. In addition, you must prove financial need. Importantly, you must fill out every field of your application accurately. Truly, even the smallest mistake can cause a denied claim. For example, the SSA denies around 70 percent of all first-time SSDI applications. Also, the SSA denies most people for reasons unrelated to whether they are truly disabled or not. In other words, common reasons why the SSA denies people boils down to improperly completed forms or failing to provide necessary records. How Attorneys Help Obviously, to avoid these problems, you should turn to an attorneys with experience and dedication to getting the job done right. What will a Gerling Law SSDI attorney do? First, we present your disability in terms that comply with qualifying disabilities. Second, we ensure that your income meets SSDI requirements. Third, we put your application together properly and review it to avoid errors. As a result, when you work with a skilled attorney from the outset, you can improve the chances that you will be among the 30 percent that get approval on the first try. That being said, if SSA has already denied your claim, getting an attorney’s help can help you handle the complicated appeals process. Furthermore, it increases your chances of finally getting the disability benefits you deserve. If you need an SSDI attorney, Gerling Law is here to help. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. In addition, Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Social Security Disability

Benefits Denial: When Social Security says "no"

At Gerling Law, we know first-hand how stressful it can be to apply for social security benefits. In addition to being unable to work, most individuals also have anxiety that stems from the possibility of social security benefits denial. What does this mean, exactly? Simply put, some people are denied their benefits. However, learning why can be beneficial to you and your family. About Social Security Benefits Denial According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, social security benefits are based on the earnings on which you pay Social Security payroll taxes. More so, the higher amount you pay, the higher your earnings. However, facts and figures can become extremely confusing. If you are concerned that the SSA might deny your social security benefits, then educating yourself on common reasons as to why other cases of social security benefits denial happen may help. For example, earning too much money can harm you. Notably, you may find your social security benefits being denied if you are working above the limit that is considered “substantial gainful activity.” Or, you are earning too much money to be considered “disabled.” As a result, if these are true when you apply, you will not qualify. Other reasons for denial may include the following: the disability won’t last long enough or isn’t severe enough the individual is being unreasonable or refuses to cooperate the disability occurred due to a drug or alcohol abuse problem you have been convicted of a crime. Social Security Benefits Denial—Getting Help So, if you have experienced social security benefits denial that you believe is unfair or unjust, you could benefit from having an attorney on your side. As stated above, we understand how hard this time can be for you and your family. Furthermore, we have experience with these types of cases. Don’t face the challenging journey alone. Leave the legal process to the professionals. Receiving a “no” from Social Security isn’t the end of the road, so don’t lose hope. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. In addition, Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Social Security Disability

You Need a Social Security Benefits Attorney

Applying for and obtaining social security benefits in Indiana can be challenging. The best course of action is to start by getting help from an Indianapolis social security benefits attorney from Gerling Law. We can start the application process by making sure that nothing is missed. Also, we can ensure that you are on the right track to approval. We know what it takes to get the application to pass. You have a better chance than you might by doing so on your own. One of our expert attorneys will make sure that you are not missing any information and that the information is what is being asked for and that it fits the criteria. What are the benefits? Before you get started with your social security application, you should reach out to a social security benefits attorney. Why? You will receive information on how WE can help YOU. Make sure that you are ready with the information that is needed and be prepared to answer some questions. This is going to help the process go more smoothly. The professional can look at the application and your situation, and be sure that you are ready to file before the application goes in. Taking the time to meet with one of our lawyers will also give you peace of mind knowing that there is a great deal that is being taken care of for you There is no reason why you need to continue struggling with legal issues related to social security benefits. There are attorneys out there trained in these exact legal solutions. If you’re struggling with a legal issue pertaining to social security benefits, it may benefit you to speak to an attorney from Gerling Law that specializes in this field. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Social Security Disability

Get Results with an Indianapolis Disability Benefits Denial Lawyer

If you have applied for disability and been denied, you will probably need the help of a qualified Indianapolis disability benefits denial lawyer from Gerling Law to help you with your appeal. It is not uncommon for someone to be denied disability benefits upon the first application. One of our skilled lawyers will be able to help you gather the appropriate information necessary to win your appeal and start the process. He or she will work with you to determine what is needed and they will handle the contact with the appropriate departments to get the appeal going. We have the experience necessary to carefully handle the appeal. Be Prepared When Meeting with the Indianapolis Disability Denial Lawyer Taking the time to meet with an Indianapolis disability benefits denial lawyer from our Indiana law firm can provide you with the help that you need to get the benefits that you deserve. We will be able to pinpoint some of the problems with the original application and get you the best possible results based on the situation. Make sure that you are providing the lawyer with as much information as possible so that you have the best chance possible at getting positive results. Even the smallest bit of information could prove to be important in the appeal that the lawyer will file. The process is not simple, and you will need to be prepared by talking with a professional that has been there before. Hire an Indianapolis Disability Benefits Denial Lawyer Today There is no reason why you have to continue struggling with your disability benefits issues when there are attorneys who specifically specialize in these issues. If you have a disability benefits denial that you are struggling with, consider calling Gerling Law today at 888-437-5464 for more information on how you can appeal your case. We want to help answer your legal questions, so you don’t have to go through this process alone.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Social Security Disability

Benefits of an Owensboro Disability Lawyer

The legal landscape surrounding disability claims can be overwhelming, and it can become even more overwhelming when you are denied a disability claim. If you have been denied, or you believe that you might be denied, and you don’t know what to do next, it might be time for you to consider hiring an Owensboro disability lawyer from Gerling Law to help you with your claim. There are many benefits to hiring an attorney from our law firm who can help you with your Owensboro disability claim, including having someone who understands the legal landscape who can advocate for you and answer any legal question that you have throughout the process. It is vitally important that you do not go through this process alone. Attorney Advocacy by an Owensboro Disability Lawyer An Owensboro disability lawyer who is representing you throughout your disability case can do more than just answer your legal questions as you are fighting through this. Although you may have a lot of legal questions, there is more to this process than just calling your lawyer for advice. Your disability lawyer in Owensboro will also be able to advocate for you at the negotiating table, help you with disability settlements, and help you ultimately win your case if it is possible for you to do so. The ultimate goal of your attorney is to help you win, and they will advocate for you through the entire process. Contact an Owensboro Disability Lawyer Today There are many benefits to hiring a disability lawyer if this is the type of legal issue that you are facing. If you believe that this is the type of attorney you might need, give Gerling Law a call today at 888-437-5464 to find out more about the legal services that we offer, and how we might be able to help you with your legal issue.

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