FILING FOR DISABILITY IN COLORADO
HOW TO FILE FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS IN COLORADO
Filing for disability benefits in Colorado is a task that Cannon Disability Law can help you with. Especially if you have a physical or mental condition that keeps you from working for over 12 months. You may need help filing for Social Security benefits in Colorado. We are there for you. You do not have to do this alone.
There are two federal SSA programs that you can apply for.
The first program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD). SSD benefits require you to have a lengthy work history. You must also have paid your taxes. SSD benefits come with Medicare. Learn about Medicare benefits here.
The second program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI benefits are very different from SSD benefits. For example, SSI benefits are for those who have never had a job. They are also for children. Or, they are for those who made very little money when working. Additionally, the benefits are extra money for those with a low monthly SSD payment. SSI benefit comes with Medicaid. If you win SSI benefits, then Medicaid starts on the date you filed your SSI application. Learn more information about Medicaid benefits here.
Each of these programs requires you to have a physical or mental condition that keeps you from working for over 12 months. Learn more information about what you need to know to apply for disability benefits here.
OTHER COLORADO DISABILITY BENEFITS
Colorado, unlike California, does not have a short–term disability insurance program. However, your employer may offer short-term disability insurance through a private insurance company.
This means you would pay for disability insurance benefits. You buy a private policy. If you become disabled, then the policy pays you benefits. Additionally, if you lose a job and are able to return to work, then you can apply for unemployment benefits.
Your employer may also offer maternity and paternity leave benefits or long-term disability benefits. Additionally, there are federal benefits available through an employer, like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Disability insurance is not the same as workers’ compensation. In the case of Social Security insurance benefits, injury or illness does not have to be the result of a work incident or event.
Colorado does have a program covering temporary disabilities for state employees and other government workers. Workers gain access after five years with the Public Employee Retirement System. Additionally, Colorado does require private employers to buy into the Worker’s Compensation program.
TWO TYPES OF PRIVATE DISABILITY INSURANCE
Privately, in Colorado, there are two types of disability insurance that you can purchase: short term and long term. Short-term will usually replace a portion of your salary from three to six months after the onset of your disability.
Long-term benefits will normally begin six months after your disability. This type of benefit can last a few years until you are able to return to work. Likewise, it can also pay out until retirement age. It all depends on the type of policy you buy.
Typically, private insurance limits mental health payments to a two year term. This is not true across the board. But, most insurance companies put a limit of two years on any payment of benefits due to mental health reasons. For example, if you claim benefits for depression or anxiety, then that would trigger a two year payment limit.
Therefore, if you have a combination of impairments, like a severe back impairment and depression, you should make sure the insurance company’s payments are based on your back impairment. Because, if they base payments on your mental health condition, then there will be a time limit on the payout period.
THREE WAYS TO FILE FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS IN COLORADO
There are three easy ways to apply or file your application for benefits in Colorado. First, the easiest way to file an application is to file online. If you don’t have a computer or access to one, then you go with the second choice: apply over the telephone. Remember, you can always go to the library and use a computer for free. Finally, you can apply in person.
Benefits begin from the date you file your application, so the longer you wait to file, the more money you lose. If you cannot work due to a medical condition, then file for benefits today. Here are three ways to file:
- Online: You can apply online at the Social Security website.
- Telephone: You can apply over the telephone by calling the SSA’s customer service line at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)
- In-person: You can apply in person at your local Social Security field office.
Additionally, if you need help obtaining medical records for your case, we have a list of Colorado’s free and low cost healthcare resources on this website. We also have a list of cities we serve.
COLORADO DISABILITY DETERMINATION SERVICES
After filing for benefits, your case will transfer to the Colorado office of Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS reviews medical records to assist the SSA in making prompt decisions regarding SSD and SSI claims.
Disability Determination Services can assist with both SSI and SSDI claims in Colorodo. DDS can also request more medical records if they feel they do not have enough information to make the correct decision about your case.
Below you will find the address and phone number of DDS:
Colorado Disability Determination Services
3190 S. Vaughn Way
Aurora, CO 80014-9833
Other important numbers:
|DDS front desk||303.368.4100|
|SSA information line||800.772.1213|
|TDD – SSA – National||800.325.0778|
|State of Colorado general information||303.866.5000|
|Colorado Department of Human Services||303.866.5700|
If you have questions or need to submit medical records, you can submit information to the Colorado DDS. The DDS Claims Examiner decides whether or not to pay you SSD or SSI benefits at the initial level of your case. If you are denied, then you file a Request for Reconsideration. If the Claims Examiner denies your case at the next level, then you will need to file a Request for a Hearing with the SSA.
At each stage of the SSA process, it is important to file any appeals on time. Typically, you only have 60 days in which to appeal an decision from the SSA.
WHO IS DISABILITY DETERMINATION SERVICES?
DDS is fully funded by the Federal Government. However, it is a Colorado state agency. DDS is responsible for getting all of your medical evidence. However, you need to tell them which doctors have your medical records. DDS also makes the initial decision about whether you should get benefits.
Usually, DDS tries to obtain evidence from your medical sources first. If that evidence is not enough, then DDS will arrange for a consultative examination (CE). This is an exam paid for by the SSA. Find out more about the consultative examination here.
After development of the medical evidence, DDS makes both the initial decision and the reconsideration decision. Find out more about how to file a request for reconsideration here.
If DDS finds that you qualify for benefits, then SSA completes any other development needed to finish your case. Next, SSA figures your monthly benefit amount. They do this based on the amount of money you have earned during your working life. Then, they begin paying benefits. If, however, you do not win benefits, then your file is kept in the field office in case you decide to appeal SSA’s decision. Always appeal.
COLORADO DDS PERFORMANCE
Colorado’s DDS is usually in the top twenty when compared to the performance of the 52 other DDS’s in other States. Their goal is to make the best case decision possible. They also try to provide excellent customer service.
DDS states that the most important measure of “our performance –accuracy– comes from an independent review of our decisions—both allowances and denials—by Social Security’s Disability Quality Branch.” SSA’s records show their overall accuracy to be above the national average when compared to the other 52 States. In fact, in Federal Fiscal Year 2018, the Colorado DDS was correct 97.2% of the time, or 2.5 points above the national norm and ranked second in the nation. This number, of course, does not count the cases that were overturned by the ALJ’s at the hearing level or by the Appeals Council.
The Colorado DDS states the second most important measure of their performance is how much work they produce. According to SSA, high productivity without making mistakes shows they are a cost effective operation. Productivity is defined by the number of cases finished in a work year. In Federal Fiscal Year 2018, the Colorado DDS ranked 18th out of 52 in and they were 3 points over the national average.
PHYSICAL CONDITIONS ELIGIBLE FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS IN COLORADO
Physical conditions can keep you from working. If you cannot work for more than 12 months due to any of the following physical conditions, then you should apply for SSDI and SSI benefits in Colorado.
- Addison’s disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS or Lou Gehrigs Disease
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Back Impairments and Spinal Injuries
- Black Lung Disease
- Bone Fractures – non-healing after 12 months
- Breast Cancer
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- (COPD) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Crohn’s Disease and Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Down Syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Endocrine Disorders
- Epilepsy and Seizure
- Heart Attack and Coronary Artery Disease
- Hip Replacement
- Huntington’s Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Knee Replacement
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Ménière’s disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neck Pain and Injury
- Neurological Conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Prostate Cancer
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Recurrent Arrhythmias
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Shoulder Pain and Injury
- Sickle Cell Disorder
- Varicose Veins and Deep Vein Thrombosis
Additionally, it is also possible to have a combination of physical conditions. If you have more than one physical condition, then you may win benefits under “equaling” SSA’s rules. You can also have a physical condition that is not on SSA’s list, but you can still win benefits. Find out more about winning SSD benefits with medical records here.
FILING FOR DISABILITY IN COLORADO FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Our law firm can also help you win SSD or SSI benefits if you have a mental condition that prevents you from working for more than 12 months. For example, you may have one mental disease or a combination of mental conditions. Either way, we can help you with your case. Disability benefits are available for many different mental health conditions including:
- Attention Deficit Disorder -ADD/ADHD
- Bipolar Disorder
- Dementia/Early-Onset Dementia
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Learning Disorders/Intellectual Disability
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Personality Disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Somatic Disorder
- Traumatic Brain Injury
In addition, mental health issues can combine with physical conditions. If you cannot meet SSA’s standards under one mental health condition, then you may have to prove you cannot work due to your residual functional capacity. Find out more about winning disability benefits in Colorado using your residual functional capacacity.
WHAT DOES CANNON DISABILITY DO FOR YOUR DISABILITY CASE?
You do not have to obtain Colorado benefits on your own. Cannon Disability can help file your disability application. Also, we can help you understand the appeal stages and what evidence you must submit. We will also appeal for you.
If you leave that up to us, then you can focus on your health. Our attorneys and staff can:
- Send you our paperwork so you can become our client
- Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
- Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
- Collect your medical records
- Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
- Represent you at your hearing and question vocational and medical witnesses.
- Read more about vocational experts here
- Learn more about medical expert testimony here
- Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
- Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court
If you file your disability application on Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. It is best to complete the application quickly. You don’t want to run out the 6 month time limit. If you do, you might have to start over. And worse, you will lose any right to benefits on the first application.
CANNON DISABILITY LAW – THE BEST SSD ATTORNEYS IN COLORADO
At Cannon Disability Law, we are experts at winning SSD and SSI benefits. You can learn more about our representative on our About Us Page. You can also review our client paperwork on our Fee Agreement and Important Forms page.
For example, in the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSD and SSI cases for our clients. If you need help filling out your application for benefits, then contact our office. We can also help you appeal any SSA denial. If you need more information about what it costs to hire us, please read our article, “Attorney Fees in Disability Cases.”
When you contact our office for help with your application, make sure you know some basic facts. We will need to know your date of birth. We also need to know your wedding date and divorce date. Additionally, we will need to know the date you last worked. Also, we will need to know the names of your doctors.
The Social Security application asks basic information about your family and your children. You will also need a list of where you have worked. Likewise, you will need to write about what you did at each job. The SSA needs to know this information in order to process your application.
Also, if you previously filed an application for disability benefits in Colorado, then don’t forget to request that the SSA reopen your old application. This is also true if you filed a prior application in any state.
WORKING WITH YOUR LEGAL TEAM TO WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS IN COLORADO
Obviously, we cannot file for SSD and SSI benefits in Colorado without your help. That is why we say we are your legal team. A team requires working together. We may be experts at the law. However, you are the expert on the facts of your life.
We will also need to know why you cannot work. You will need to describe your symptoms. Additionally, there are forms we will need you to complete for the SSA. Forms such as the Activities of Daily Living Form or the Work History form.
First, you complete the forms. Do it in pencil. If you need help with the form, then we can answer your questions. Second, if you make a mistake, then you can erase it and fix it.
After we file your application, we collect your medical records. However, we need your help to collect your medical records. You provide the names of your doctors and counselors. If you don’t give us the information about your doctors, then we cannot contact them on your behalf. We need their address and phone number.
Additionally, after we file your Colorado SSD benefit application, we position your case to win. If your case receives an initial denial, then we appeal. At the reconsideration stage, if you do not win, then we will request a hearing.
Once you reach a hearing, we review your full SSA file. Also, we prepare you to testify about your case in court. Because we have been in so many hearing in Colorado, we know the questions the judge will ask. We can prepare you to answer their questions.
Finally, use our experience to give you a better chance of winning your SSD and SSI benefits. If you need help filing for Colorado disability benefits, then contact Cannon Disability today.