Your Social Security Attorney in New Haven, IN

Social Security Disability Claim Denied? We Can Help

If you are disabled and can no longer work due to a personal injury, or illness, you may have applied for Social Security Disability through the SSD website. If your results are like most, your claim was denied. Some people give up once a denial have been issued and just assume that they can never receive compensation. Other people, perhaps you, choose to hire an attorney and a law firm with experience obtaining Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits.

At Van Gilder & Trzynka, we have an attorney who is becoming well known for her experience with SSD and SSDI. Ann Trzynka is chairperson for the Allen County, Indiana, Bar Association Social Security Section and is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR). She focuses her legal practice on achieving Social Security Disability benefits for individuals who have been denied a claim.

For your convenience, we have provided some general information about Social Security Disability claims and provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
associates 3 - Van Gilder & Trzynka PC in Fort Wayne, IN

Why Choose Us? Because We Have the Experience to Help

If you choose our law firm and Ann Trzynka as your attorney, here is what you will receive:
  • An attorney who is well-versed in medical terminology and has years of experience analyzing medical records to see how you may qualify for SS Disability benefits
  • An attorney who knows how to obtain additional medical information, diagnoses and opinions that can place you into one of the SSD disability categories that will entitle you to benefits
  • A lawyer who is extremely detail oriented and meticulous in filing the necessary paperwork
  • A law firm that has helped hundreds of individuals in Fort Wayne and surrounding areas receive the Social Security Disability income they were due
  • A lawyer who has built a referral network from other law firms as other attorneys trust her, and trust our law firm, to take their Social Security Disability denied claim clients
  • An attorney who is now recognized for her experience in this area of law and gives seminars and conducts Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs
Social Security Disability Practice

If your disability is expected to last at least one year or result in death, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Working closely with an attorney who will explain your rights and options can help you make decisions that are in your best interests. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and case evaluation with an experienced attorney.

Social Security Disability – An Overview

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, or if you are in the midst of appealing a denial of benefits, it is important to understand the Social Security Administration's approval process. In addition to meeting the definition of “disabled” and fulfilling the earnings requirements that the Social Security Administration dictates, you must present a convincing and organized claim. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney from Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C. in Fort Wayne, Indiana, can offer insight and guidance in your pursuit of benefits.


An impairment that qualifies as a disability under Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines must be quite serious. The impairment must render the applicant unable to perform any substantial gainful activity — that is, the applicant must not be able to earn more than a minimum amount of money, determined each year by the SSA.

The impairment must completely disable the applicant from working. It must be expected to last for a year, have already lasted a year, or be expected to cause the applicant's death. But this is not the end of the qualifying tests.

Earnings Tests

The Social Security Administration also requires the applicant to have a sufficient work history to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Based upon the applicant's age, he or she must have worked for a specified number of years. The applicant also must have worked at least some of those years recently. This is because Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are “earned” with the contributions applicants have made through their Social Security taxes. Some blind applicants do not need to meet the recent work test.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, is a needs-based program that helps disabled people with low income and few resources.

When to File

To qualify for benefits, a person must be disabled for a minimum of 12 consecutive months. Thus, it may not be a good idea for a person to file an application for benefits as soon as he or she becomes unable to work because it may be difficult to prove that the disability will last for at least one full year. The initial decision can take a number of months. If your claim is denied — which happens in a large majority of cases — the time it takes to appeal can last a year, two years or longer, depending on where you live. It is often wise to start early.

The Decision Process

Following the receipt of the application, a federal Social Security Administration representative will review the information. If the representative is satisfied that the application meets certain basic criteria, the application and evidentiary materials will be forwarded to a state agency that is charged with making a decision regarding the disability benefits application. The state agency may develop the file further by gathering more medical or vocational evidence.

Social Security uses a five-step process to determine whether the applicant should receive benefits, asking:
  • Whether the applicant is working
  • Whether the medical condition is severe enough to render the applicant disabled
  • Whether the impairment is on a government list of impairments granting automatic disability status (if the impairment is not on the list, that does not necessarily disqualify the applicant)
  • Whether the applicant can do the work he or she did before
  • What other types of work the applicant can to do.
The state agency will return the file to the federal Social Security Administration with its recommendation. The SSA almost always adopts the state agency's disability determination.

After considering all other eligibility questions, the SSA will mail the applicant a notice of its decision.


The applicant has the right to appeal the decision. The first appeal is a reconsideration of the initial denial, typically a review by a new person of the written evidence and any additional evidence. Under a pilot program in some states, including Missouri, the reconsideration step has been eliminated and applicants go right from an initial denial to a hearing with an administrative law judge. After reconsideration, the next appeal goes to an administrative law judge for a hearing. Following this stage, the applicant has a right to appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. Finally, the applicant may appeal to the federal courts. An attorney can offer valuable assistance in the appeals process.

Speak with an Attorney

Each step of the Social Security Disability benefits application process can be time consuming and complex. An attorney from Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C. in Fort Wayne, Indiana, can answer your questions and help you through the qualification and appeals process.


Social Security Disability – Resource Links

The US Social Security Administration (SSA) is dedicated to protecting individuals' economic security through programs including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Look here for useful information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) about Social Security Disability benefits and how to apply for them.
The US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health provide health information and numerous other resources for people with disabilities.
The CDC and the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD) provide this informative Web page with disability demographics and resources for people with disabilities.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Call Our Toll Free Number if Your Social Security Disability Claim was DeniedSocial Security Disability – Resource Links

If you received a “benefits denied” letter from the Social Security Administration, please give us a call to discuss your legal need with one of our lawyers. Call 888-255-7910 to speak to a lawyer, or send us an e-mail to schedule an initial consultation.

Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C., represents clients throughout Fort Wayne, Indiana, and in the cities of New Haven, Huntington, Bluffton, Auburn, Angola, Columbia City, Kendallville, Albion, Churubusco, Huntertown, Woodburn, Ossian, Butler and Ligonier, as well as individuals in the communities of Allen County, Whitley County, DeKalb County, Adams County, Wells County, Noble County, Huntington County, Steuben County and LaGrange County, Indiana.