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At Martone Law Firm we focus our practice on proving disability for adults and children who have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits by the Social Security Administration. We represent clients at all levels of the application and review process, including administrative hearings, Appeals Council, and U.S. District Court (federal court).
Martone Law Firm consists of Albuquerque Social Security Disability attorneys Feliz M. Martone and Gary J. Martone, and an experienced legal support staff. Martone Law Firm has been in business in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1985, and since then we have represented over 10,000 claimants throughout New Mexico.
There is no fee unless we win your case. Social Security sets the fee for attorneys, which is no more than 25% of past due benefits and are only paid if you receive benefits. The law allows for non-attorney advocates to provide representation and they can charge the same fees as an attorney. At Martone Law Firm you will be represented by an attorney who has the experience necessary to develop your claim. We are highly skilled in preparing legal arguments, preparing witness testimony, and cross-examining Social Security’s Vocational Experts and Medical Examiners. We have staff and an attorney who are bilingual in English and Spanish to better assist you.
Having a local attorney who knows the culture, providers, judges, and experts in New Mexico is a benefit to your claim. Before you see a judge, you will meet with your attorney to review all the important information in your case, identify and resolve any issues, develop your full medical profile, prepare witness testimony, and explain the procedures that will take place at the hearing.
Many people get discouraged with the length of time it takes to navigate through the disability application process. Unfortunately, Social Security denies a significant number of initial claims and many people give up thinking that they will be denied again or do not understand their right to appeal the unfavorable determination.
There is no charge for an initial consultation. Attorney’s fees are not charged unless a claim is successful. A consultation can help you determine whether you would qualify for one or both disability programs, if you have information needed to file a claim, and what options are available to you. Attorneys at Martone Law Firm meet with claimants at all levels of the process, whether they have not yet applied or have received a denial from a judge. Come and talk to us about your unique situation. Martone Law Firm can help you understand your legal rights and assist you every step of the way.Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must be under 65 years old, have worked long enough to meet fully insured status, and have a medical condition or conditions that meet Social Security’s definition of disability. You are disabled if you cannot do the work you did before, Social Security finds you cannot perform other work because of your medical conditions, and your disability has lasted or will last for at least a year or be expected to result in death.Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If you have not earned enough work quarters to meet the insured status requirements for SSDI, or your SSDI benefits could be supplemented, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a federally-funded program anyone who is age 65 or older, blind, or disabled; and who has limited income and limited resources, and meets certain other requirements.Adult Disability Benefits
Social Security disability for individual’s over the age of 18 is defined as the inability to perform any substantial gainful activity due to any medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or will be expected to last 12 continuous months or more.
There are 5 basic steps in evaluating an adult Social Security disability claim:Step 1: Are you Working?
Generally, individuals applying for disability do so because they are unable to work, or they have significantly cut down their hours due to a medical condition. If you are earning $1,200 gross income per month or more in 2019 Social Security presumes that to be substantial gainful activity and you will be denied unless you can show reasons why the income should not be considered. The Albuquerque Social Security Disability lawyers at Martone Law Firm can help you identify whether or not your income meets the maximum limit or gather information about accommodations and impairment-related work expenses.Step 2: What are Your Severe Impairments?
Your medically determinable physical and/or mental conditions must be proven with objective findings from a medical provider and must be severe enough to keep you from working for at least 12 consecutive months or longer. Attorneys at Martone Law Firm can help you with identifying the necessary medical information needed to prove a severe medically determinable impairment.Step 3: Do any of Your Impairments Meet a Listing?
If you have an impairment that meets or equals one of the listed impairments and meets the 12-month duration requirement, you may be found disabled. There is a listing for each major body systems impairments that Social Security considers to be severe enough to prevent an individual from performing any gainful activity, regardless of age, education, or work experience. Each listing provides the criteria needed to establish that you are disabled. Attorneys at Martone Law Firm can assist with obtaining the information needed to prove a listing is met.Step 4: What is the Most you can do Physically and/or Mentally?
Is it enough to return to your past work? At this step, your residual functional capacity (RFC) is determined. Your RFC is the most you can do despite your impairments. If you can still do your past relevant work you will be found not disabled. Attorneys at Martone Law Firm can help correctly identify your past work and advocate for the reasons why you cannot return to that work, including identifying whether your job was a composite job, or if you whether or not you have transferable skills.Step 5: Is There Other Work you can do?
You are not disabled just because you cannot do the work you used to do. Social Security determines if you are able to perform other work based on your age, education, and past work experience if any. A claimant may be able to perform other work based on transferable skills acquired from past work or their education. If you are under 50 years old, you must be unable to do any full time job that exists in the national economy. Social Security does not consider whether there are employers hiring in your local area, the rate of pay, or your interest in performing a particular job; the determination is whether or not you are able to do it and does the job exist in significant numbers in the national economy (the entire U.S.). Attorneys at Martone Law Firm can help identify the reasons why you cannot perform other work and at an administrative hearing, cross-examine the Vocational Expert’s testimony regarding your ability to do other work.Child Disability Benefits
An individual under the age of 18 may be considered disabled if he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe limitations in the ability to function, which can be expected to cause death or can be expected to last for 12 continuous months or more.
There are 3 basic steps in evaluating a child’s disability claim:Step 1: Is the Child Working?
If the child is working and earning substantial gainful activity, he or she will be found not disabled. If the child is earning $1,200 gross income per month or more in 2019 Social Security presumes the child is not disabled. Attorneys at Martone Law Firm can help identify whether there is any legal reason why the income counted should be reduced.Step 2: What are the Severe Impairments?
The child’s medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments must be severe enough to cause more than minimum functional limitations and meet the 12-month duration requirement. The Albuquerque Social Security Disability lawyers at Martone Law Firm can help identify the necessary information needed to prove the severity of your medically determinable impairments.Step 3: Do any of the Impairments Meet or Equal a Listing?
There are listings for children’s impairments separate from the adult listings. If the criteria are in a listing is met or equaled. If a listing is not met, Social Security must evaluate whether a listing is equaled by determining the child’s ability to function in terms of six domains: (1) acquiring and using information, (2) attending and completing tasks, (3) interacting and relating with others, (4) moving about and manipulating objects, (5) caring for yourself, and (6) health and physical well-being. A child is found disabled if he or she has “marked” limitations in two domains, or an “extreme” limitation in one domain. Attorneys at Martone Law Firm can help you identify and gather the information needed to support the necessary findings to show the child meets or equals a listing.Common Mistakes Claimants Make
Any of these mistakes can result in your claim being denied. Some of these mistakes can be remedied and attorneys at Martone Law Firm can help explain your rights and advocate for the right result. Contact Martone Law Firm today to see how our experience can benefit your claim for disability benefits.
Albuquerque Social Security Disability Lawyer | New Mexico SSDI Attorney | Martone Law Firm