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Eau Claire disability lawyer John A. Kaiser provides assistance with Social Security appeals to disability claimants located throughout western Wisconsin

My name is John A. Kaiser, but my friends and clients call me “Jack.” I have been practicing disability law for over 36 years and I have represented thousands of Social Security disability claimants since 1976. Since 1992, I have devoted my practice to the representation of Eau Claire disability claimants seeking Social Security benefits (including Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income), worker’s compensation, and long-term disability insurance.

By focusing on disability law, I offer my clients a combination of specialized knowledge and experience, and a successful strategy to approaching Eau Claire Social Security disability cases. I have also represented many of my Eau Claire Social Security disability claimants in their worker’s compensation claims, long-term disability insurance contract disputes, and/or accident claims. Very often a client with an accident or worker’s compensation claim may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits or my client who is seeking Social Security disability benefits may also have a long-term disability insurance contract dispute, etc. Because I represent disabled people in all these types of claims, I can coordinate the claims in order to maximize my clients’ benefits.

This 100-page website will introduce you to some of the things that you may want to know about Social Security disability benefits and how the Social Security Administration will look at your disability claim.

Should I appeal if my application for Eau Claire Social Security disability benefits is denied?

I frequently receive this question from Eau Claire Social Security disability claimants. The short answer is “Yes.” Failing to appeal the Social Security Administration’s denial of an initial application and then failing to ask for a reconsideration is one of the biggest mistakes Eau Claire Social Security disability claimants make. The bottom line is that most disability applications are denied. About two-thirds of initial applications are denied while over half of those who appeal are ultimately awarded disability benefits.

Pursuing your Social Security disability claim through to the appeal level where you have the best odds of winning disability benefits requires some patience. The Social Security disability evaluation and appeals process can be complicated and lengthy. Having an experienced Eau Claire disability lawyer handle your case will increase your chance of success, but there is little your attorney can do to speed up the process.

The following is a breakdown of the average amount of time each Social Security disability stage takes and the rate of success:

Initial applications. It takes an average of 120 days for a Social Security disability applicant to receive an answer from the Social Security Administration on his or her initial application. 35% are awarded benefits at this level. Out of the applicants whose applications are denied by the Social Security Administration, 52% will abandon their claims and 48% will appeal.

Reconsideration. Claimants who appeal to the first level will wait an average of 90 days to receive a decision. 15% of these appeals are granted. Of those denied, 30% will give up and 70% will appeal.

Hearing. At your hearing is where the odds favor you, especially if you have the representation of an experienced disability lawyer. Claimants will wait 15.5 months for a hearing and decision, but 55% will receive good news. Of those who don’t, 55% will quit and 45% will appeal.

Appeals Council and then federal court. If you appeal your hearing decision, on average, 220 more days are required to get a decision from the Social Security Appeals Council. Only 2% of claimants will be granted benefits at this stage. Of the 98% denied benefits here, 75% will give up. For those who then appeal the Appeal Council decision in federal court, another 540 days of waiting are required for a decision. Half of the claimants who appeal to this level will receive benefits or be sent back to a lower court level.

The important thing to take away from the above breakdown of waiting times and success rates is that you should take your disability claim through the first three levels – application, reconsideration, and hearing. Since about 1980, the Social Security Administration has routinely denied worthy claims at the initial and reconsideration levels. I urge anyone whose claim has been denied to seek a reconsideration. Applying should be considered the first of several necessary steps, for over half of claimants who appeal their denials will ultimately be awarded Social Security disability benefits.

I generally advise disability claimants to file their initial application and then their request for reconsideration by themselves with the Eau Claire Social Security Administration or wherever else they are located. There are disability claimants who are awarded benefits at each of these steps ― so there is no need to incur the expense of an attorney. If Social Security disability is a new topic for you, take a look at Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security disability benefits, which provides a good introduction to the topic. For information about applying, see Tips for applying and for information about appealing see Appealing a Denial of Benefits.

I focus on representing Eau Claire disability claimants at Social Security appeal hearings. When and if your reconsideration is denied, I encourage you to contact me regarding an appeal to a Social Security judge. I can represent you at your hearing and, if you have not yet done so, I can assist you with requesting a hearing in front of a Social Security administrative law judge.

How I can help you as an experienced Eau Claire disability lawyer

As discussed above, applying for and winning Social Security disability and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits can be a frustrating process. Claimants with representation have a better chance of a successful result, according to the Social Security Administration. With over 36 years of practicing disability law, I can explain the Social Security disability process to you, and guide you through the process.

The most important thing I can do for you as your Eau Claire disability lawyer is analyze your case to determine what needs to be proven for you to win Social Security disability benefits. I will then figure out how to prove it and gather the evidence necessary for your case.

The most important evidence for your disability case is often medical data and opinions. The Social Security Administration requires a lot of medical documentation, and your final medical documentation package will depend upon my theory for your case. For example, hospital records for treatment of an acute illness are less important than the records generated by your doctor or therapist after you have stabilized. Why? Because the issue to be determined is whether you can work after recovering from the acute phase of your illness not whether you can work while hospitalized. I also will find any deficiencies in the medical records, and help obtain the evidence necessary to present the full picture to the Social Security judge for consideration. For more information about medical documentation, see Medical documentation and opinions.

In addition, I am proud of my firm’s relationships with local healthcare providers. If you live in western or northwestern Wisconsin, chances are I have worked with your healthcare providers. Unlike many big city or national representation firms, my firm has developed relationships with the healthcare professionals in our region, and we consider ourselves colleagues with your doctors and therapists in representing your interests. These relationships help my firm and me obtain medical documentation and opinions for your disability claim.

In addition to medical documentation, my firm handles all of the specific tasks necessary to assist you with your appeal. For your disability hearing, I will advise you on how best to prepare for and testify at the hearing so there will be no surprises, and I’ll request subpoenas to insure the presence of crucial witnesses or documents. My work does not end with the hearing. If we are successful at the hearing, I will make sure you receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.

How to contact me

Though the disability evaluation process can be lengthy and complicated, the question in front of you or any Eau Claire disability claimant is a simple one: “Do you believe you are unable to work?” If so, I recommend you seek Social Security disability with assistance from an experienced Eau Claire disability lawyer.

If you live in western or northwestern Wisconsin and want assistance with your hearing or requesting a hearing, I can help. Please provide a brief description of your claim using the short claim evaluation form to your right, and I will respond promptly.

Or if you have any questions, please call me at (715) 832-3494. Initial consultations are free.

John A. Kaiser, Attorney at Law
204 East Grand Avenue
Wells Fargo Building, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 358
Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54702-0358
Tel: (715) 832-3494

We are an Eau Claire law firm representing injured or disabled persons in Social Security appeals, worker’s compensation claims, and disability insurance disputes for over three decades.