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  • Florida Coastal School of Law, Juris Doctorate
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Bachelor of Science, Molecular Biology, Chancellor’s List


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“Daniel Mendez is at the top of his field when it comes to the Social Security benefits claims process. His intimate knowledge of the processes, people, and criteria involved make him an invaluable resource for any client needing help obtaining Social Security benefits. The fire he has inside for helping those who can’t help themselves is something that simply cannot be taught.” – Chuck Farah, Senior Partner at Farah & Farah


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Working out of the Farah & Farah offices in downtown Jacksonville, Daniel is able to apply his years of working at the Florida Disability Determination Services (DDS) to help his clients get approved for Social Security disability benefits. DDS is the state agency responsible for deciding Social Security disability claims.

At DDS, Daniel worked as a master adjudicator, which means that he was in charge of following the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) strict criteria in order to make determinations in disability claims. That first-hand knowledge of the process is invaluable to Daniel’s clients, as he knows the exact blueprint for getting his clients the Social Security benefits they deserve. 

I’ve Worked with the SSA and Now I Help My Clients Through The Claims Process

Coming to Farah & Farah, one of the first things provided to every new attorney is a fantastic training program. You get your bearings quickly and have immediate access to all of the different tools and resources available to you. It’s definitely not a big corporate feel here. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to make the leap from DDS into private practice. 

Working as a disability claims adjudicator meant that I was one of the first sets of eyes on initial claims and then reviewing those that were rejected and moved to appeal. Having been on the inside, I can tell you that Social Security disability benefits are some of the most difficult to obtain. By law, the SSA has very strict criteria it has to follow. Every adjudicator is held to these rules as they evaluate disability claims. 

Having worked my way up from a disability claims adjudicator to master adjudicator, which is the highest level possible, I know the initial claims and appeals process like the back of my hand. I know every detail of how they do things and how they refer to things so I can speak directly to adjudicators on their own terms. I can explain why a claimant deserves benefits and even point to the specific details in the rule book that allow for that. Being able to cite the rules and regulations lets me get my client the allowance they’re entitled to.

Having actually done the work, I can give an exact blueprint to the adjudicator on how they can follow the rules and still approve the claim.  

Social Security Disability Is About Helping Those That Need It the Most

As a Social Security disability lawyer, I’m honored and humbled that I get to help those that need it most. When you apply for Social Security benefits, you are often at a desperate time and you can feel at a disadvantage trying to go through the process.

The strict criteria that adjudicators follow can often result in a claim denial. However, as a prior master adjudicator with DDS and now as a SSD attorney, I know every maneuver we can make to give my clients the best chance possible.  

Knowing How To Read Medical Records Can Help Speed Things Up

A true advantage for any attorney handling Social Security claims is being able to dive into medical records quickly and identify the details that will allow for claim approval. I’ve honed this skill after close to a decade of experience working at DDS and now use that to help my clients get their claims approved at the initial or reconsideration level.

I do everything in my power to avoid a claim going all the way to a hearing level, where it is seen by an administrative judge, because that only adds extra time to the process. When I get right into the medical details and pertinent facts of the claim and spot what’s needed for approval, I can help speed the process up. 

A claim I’ll never forget involved a person who had severe vision issues and couldn’t perform their job any longer. Because the SSA standards were so strict, the first adjudicator to review the claim concluded that this individual didn’t quite meet the threshold for disability benefits. 

Not wanting them to have to go through the lengthy appeals process, I poured into the medical records and found a way to get this claimant just past that threshold. Because of that diligence, we were finally able to get them the benefits they deserved and that claimant was able to move forward.

I’m Proud To Live and Work in Jacksonville

When I was in undergrad, I had the thought that I’d stick with biology and eventually earn my PhD. But, as plans often do, mine changed and I moved to Jacksonville in order to attend law school. That turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life because I met my wife here, we put down roots, and now we get to raise our family here.

For Me, Time Off Is Time Outside

I love the outdoor scene that Jacksonville has to offer. If it’s the weekend, you’ll probably find me with a fishing rod in my hand out in any of the many waterways we have all around us. I’m partial to the Heckscher Drive area, because even if you don’t catch anything, there’s always the Sandollar Restaurant to fall back on. My family is big on outdoor time, so whether it’s the Arboretum and Gardens or Tree Hill Nature Center, it’s a sure bet my off time is spent somewhere outside.