(540) 710-1001
1109 Heatherstone Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22407-4828
(804) 266-9131
7400 Beaufont Springs Drive
Building II, Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23225-5519
 (540) 722-9120
102 S Kent Street
Winchester, VA 22601-5052
 

Free Claim Evaluation

I accept Social Security disability cases at all stages. Please feel free to call us at any of the above local numbers or by email below. 

You can contact our office directly through email by answering the questions below.  We will then call you back and discuss your case further, offer advice about what to do at this point or set an appointment to review your case face to face.  If you do not have email or prefer direct contact, you can always call us directly at any of the above local numbers between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.  Either way, we certainly look forward to your contact about your case and any questions you may have about the Social Security Disability process. 

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Social Security and Disability Law in Virginia 

Serving Richmond, Fredericksburg, Winchester & Surrounding Areas

Bruce K. Billman, Attorney at Law in Virginia, is proud to offer his knowledge and expertise for your Social Security disability case.


Social Security Disability Law
Sadly, if you are before your retirement age and need your Social Security disability benefits for medical reasons, you must prove that you are unable to work five days a week, eight hours a day. Although there is no way to prove how someone feels, our disability attorney will work to persuade those in positions of authority that you are unable to work.

To accomplish our mission, we work to assemble your life information so that the Social Security Administration can properly understand who you are as an individual, believe you, and understand that you are telling the truth when you say cannot work five days a week, eight hours a day.

Your Application
The application process is meant to be user-friendly; however, this is not always the case. Without properly understanding all aspects of the application process, you can easily be derailed. That's why we are here. Our office will help you to file your application from the beginning, assisting you in completing it correctly and alleviating any administrative errors.  

Now here is something Social Security representatives might not tell you: In some cases, it may not be necessary to hire a representative at the initial application stage.  Some cases will clearly meet Social Security's rules and our feeling has always been "Why pay an attorney for doing little more than filing paperwork if you are willing, capable and able to do it on your own?".  Of course, this assessment would be made on a case by case basis, depending on the individual issues in your case, level of medical treatment and the overall documented, objective severity of your illness.  Sometimes it only takes a meeting to figure that out.  We encourage you to contact us to begin that assessment today.

Disability Determination Services - the Initial Application and Reconsideration Appeal
Although the Social Security Administration is a federal agency, they currently have a contract with each individual state to do the actual evaluation of disability. In Virginia, this is done by the Virginia Department of Vocational Rehabilitation - Disability Determination Service (DDS). Thus, when your application is finalized at SSA, the file will then be electronically transmitted to DDS to begin evaluating your disability. 

Once the application is turned over to DDS, there is some chance that additional forms may have to be done to offer more information.  For example, if you have worked after the day you feel you became unable to work, SSA or DDS usually requires additional details about that work through the completion of a "Work Activity Report".  In addition, they will probably require you to describe all of the jobs you have held in the last 15 years by means of a form called a "Work History Report".  You can find this and other forms at our Usefeul Links section.  All of these documents will be electronically scanned of your file and associated with your electronic file for their review.  

At the point your file reaches DDS, they will begin to look at your disability. I need to warn you that the DDS review of your case is very limited.  Generally the review is mostly focused on findings in your medical records (this is why it is helpful to have your records already gathered up and submitted in advance - to save them the time of doing it themselves).  DDS will be paying the most attention to objective test results. This is because DDS mostly performs a screening function; i.e., they are not trying to identify each and every person who is unable to work.  Instead, they are only trying to identify the most obvious cases of disability.  This is done in part by screening criteria (http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm). For the most part, it is geared to finding people with very obvious and extremely severe disabilities.  Any condition which does not clearly meet the objective severity outlined in these sections will generally not be granted early in the process.  DDS also uses other criteria that takes age into account as well (http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-app-p02.htm).  This criteria focuses mostly on people with physical impairments over the age of 50.  However these rules can be tricky and may not always apply in your case.  Contact us today for a free consultation so we can help determine whether you meet this criteria or not.

Office of Disability Adjudication and Review - the Request for Hearing appeal and appearing before a judge 
If you are denied at the inital levels, there are appeals to appear before a judge known as a "Request for Hearing".  Sometimes a case might not fit perfectly into DDS's criteria.  This doesn't mean that the case is without merit or a person shouldn't have filed.  In cases like these, they are appealed so a judge can meet a person face to face and assess their disabilities. 

Surprisingly, this is the first and only time a person will actually meet with you on behalf of SSA to decide your case.  That's why we believe it is so important to prepare you for your testimony and what to expect once you get into the courtroom.  We also help the judges prepare by breifing the issues and making sure the evidence is in at the earliest possible time.  We can also help to reduce some of the anxieties that come along with appearing before a judge.  The best way to do that is make sure you have a firm understanding of the issues and what to expect.  Contact us today for a free consultation to see what we can offer you at this stage.

Servicing Fredericksburg, Richmond, Winchester, and Surrounding Areas.