Chris Harrell has been representing Social Security claimants for over twenty years and has experience with all levels of disability appeals, including before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He served as chair of the Louisville Bar Association’s Social Security Disability section and is an active member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). Chris frequently lectures at legal seminars about Social Security issues and has been published on the subject of Social Security Disability law.
If you choose Chris to assist you in your claim, he and his staff will work to collect your medical records, assist you in completing forms and questionnaires in order to develop your best case before the Social Security Administration, and handle the cumbersome process of filing appeals.
When your case is scheduled for hearing, Chris will accompany you to the hearing with the Administrative Law Judge. Because his only office is in Louisville, Kentucky Chris is able to focus on representing clients from the local area, including Southern Indiana. As a result, he is familiar with not only the local Social Security judges but also the local physicians and service providers. This is a level of familiarity that Disability firms outside of the area are unlikely to have.
When considering whether an individual is disabled under its rules, Social Security takes multiple factors into account. Not only will Social Security look at your medical conditions, but it will also evaluate your work history, education level, and age to decide whether your mental and physical conditions are severe enough to keep you from working. It is important to remember that each case is different, so you should not compare the likelihood of the success of your own claim based upon the success of someone else’s.
Social Security has two programs designed to assist disabled persons:
- The Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) program is an insurance program for persons who have paid into the system through their payroll taxes while they were working and who also meet the medical rules for disability.
- The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a welfare program for persons who do not qualify for SSDIB because they have not paid enough into the system to be insured. SSI requires a person to meet the medical rules for disability as well as to meet certain financial limitation requirements. In general, a single individual may have no more than $2,000 in assets, except for certain items that are not counted in that calculation such as the home that you live in, the vehicle you drive, and certain other personal items (you can review a more comprehensive list here).
If you are not sure if you qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits you can contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or create a “My Social Security” account to review your past earnings history.
If you have not yet applied for benefits, please do so. There is not a fee to apply, and delays can sometimes hurt your chances of success. We do not have a magic formula that will help improve your initial application. We do not schedule appointments with clients until the initial application is made. Chris will be happy to meet with you to review your situation and discuss your claim, but please know that it is very difficult for Chris to be able to know whether you have a “good claim” or not before he has had an opportunity to read your medical records.
Chris does not charge any fees for your initial consultation. If he is successful in helping you to win disability benefits, Chris’s fee will almost always be withheld from any back-pay that you receive. Chris does not charge you any fees if you do not win your claim.
Please feel free to contact our office at any point in your claim process. Our office does not require you to wait until you have been denied benefits to consult with you about your case. To file a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability.
What to Bring With You to Your Appointment
When you come in to meet with Chris about your Social Security Disability Claim, there are several things we need for you to bring with you:
- Any letters or documents you have received from the Social Security Administration or your disability caseworker.
- A list of all doctors, clinics, therapists, hospitals, or other medical provider that you have seen since your medical problems began, along with their addresses/phone numbers. Remember that the Social Security Administration will be assessing your overall ability to work, so we are interested in knowing about any physical or mental limitations that you experience that keep you from working.
- Any medical records that you already have in your possession. If you do not already have your records do not attempt to collect them. Please allow our office to do that for you. Part of our service to you is to collect your medical records from your medical providers.
- A list of any medications that you are currently taking or any other medical devices (e.g. hearing aids, braces, canes, c-pap machines, wheelchairs, eye glasses) that you use. You can usually obtain a current list of your medications from the website of the pharmacy you use or feel free to bring your medication bottles with you.