Welcome! This site is written for Social Security disability claimants, for their legal representatives, and for the network of people involved in the Social Security disability claim process. I hope you find it helpful.
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Maine Disability Claims

The Social Security disability claim process in Maine may require several stages.

The first stage is the review of your initial application. You can file an initial application for benefits online, or at a Social Security local “field” office. There are nine local Social Security offices in Maine, located in Saco, Portland, Auburn, Augusta, Rockland, Bangor, Waterville, Rumford and Presque Isle. Pick the office closest to you.

Maine attorney Gordon Gates can help you at each stage of the Social Security disability claim process, including the initial application, your appeal, and your hearing. Each stage is discussed below.

Ask for a free Social Security claim evaluation.

The Social Security Administration will send your case to Disability Determination Services, a Maine state agency in Augusta, to gather additional information and to make an initial determination on your claim. That determination is usually made within three or four months.

If your case is denied (and most claims in Maine are denied at this stage), then you must appeal within 60 days of your initial denial letter, by requesting a Reconsideration. Your claim will then be assigned to a new disability examiner, and will be reevaluated by Disability Determination Services. Any new evidence submitted will be considered, and a new decision will be issued.

If your case is denied again (and most cases are denied again at this stage), you must request a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge within 60 days.The hearings for Maine residents are conducted at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Portland, Maine.

The hearings are either held in person or by video conference. At the hearing, the judge will review the medical evidence, hear your testimony, and may obtain testimony from a medical or vocational expert witness.

Additionally, the Maine judges ask for a hearing brief from your representative. The hearing brief sets forth the background facts of your claim, the medical evidence, and a “theory of the case” telling the judge why your claim should be granted under the Social Security disability evaluation process.

There are six United States Administrative Law Judges permanently assigned to the Portland, Maine ODAR: Judge John Edwards, Judge Vickie Evans, Chief Judge Guy E. Fletcher, Judge John L. Melanson, Judge Katharine Morgan, and Judge Joseph Shortill.

It is very important to select a Social Security disability lawyer who has experience with the judges who may decide your case. For this reason, an out-of-state attorney or “national” Social Security firm may not be the best choice for your Maine disability claim.

For help with your Maine disability or SSI claim, please contact us today or ask for a free claim evaluation.

New Hampshire Disability Claims

For New Hampshire residents, a disability or SSI claim can be a two stage process. The Law Office of Gordon Gates can help you at each stage of this process. My New Hampshire office is located at 83 Hanover Street in downtown Manchester, just across the street from the Palace Theatre.

Ask for a free Social Security claim evaluation.

The first stage is the review of your initial application. The Social Security Administration sends your case to a state agency in Concord – Disability Determination Services – to gather additional information and to make an initial determination on your claim. The initial determination is usually made within three or four months.

If your claim is denied, then you must request a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge within 60 days.

The administrative hearings are usually conducted at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Manchester, New Hampshire. The hearings are either held in person or by videoconference. At the hearing, the judge will review the medical evidence, hear your testimony, and may take testimony from a medical or vocational expert witness. The judge will often ask your representative to make an opening statement, which will describe the factors supporting your disability claim.

Additionally, it is my practice to prepare a hearing brief for the judge. The hearing brief sets forth the background facts of your claim, describes the medical evidence, and gives a “theory of the case” telling the judge why your claim should be granted under the Social Security disability evaluation process.

There are seven judges permanently assigned to the Manchester, New Hampshire ODAR: Judge Debra Boudreau, Chief Judge James D’Alessandro, Judge Edward Hoban, Judge Ruth Kleinfeld, Judge Paul Martin, Judge Thomas Merrill and Judge Dory Sutker.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, it is very important to select a Social Security disability lawyer who is familiar with the New Hampshire judges, because one of them will decide your disability claim.

We serve clients with Social Security and SSI claims throughout the state of New Hampshire.For help with your New Hampshire disability or SSI claim, please contact Gordon Gatestoday.