The Social Security disability application process can be overwhelming and complex. Understanding your rights and responsibilities can help you avoid common mistakes and roadblocks that often arise. The Team at Stanley Law has successfully helped thousands of clients obtain the Social Security Disability benefits they deserve. Knowing what to expect and what’s required for the Social Security Disability application can help make the process less stressful.
Filing Your Initial Social Security Disability Application
There are several ways to apply for Social Security disability benefits. You may apply online, have a phone interview with an SSA representative, or mail in a paper application. Applying online is the simplest way to begin the process, and it also provides concrete documentation of when your application was filed. Before filing your application, it’s important to prepare and gather the required information you’ll need, including:
- Locations and dates of marriages and divorces
- Names, SSN, and dates of birth for your minor children and spouse
- Checking or savings account numbers
- The name and address of an emergency contact
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers for any health care professionals who provided medical treatment after you stopped working
- A list of medications you’re currently taking
- Your employment history for the past 15 years
If you’re unsure about whether you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, an attorney can assess your situation, advise you on how to proceed, and assist you with completing your application.
Technical Requirements And Eligibility
After your application is filed with the Social Security Administration, it will be processed. First, the SSA will check to see if you meet the technical requirements of the program, such as employment status, income, and how much you earned during the decade before you became disabled.
If you meet the technical requirements, your case will be evaluated for medical eligibility by the state.
The state will gather medical evidence to make a decision and give you questionnaires that ask you about your pain levels and daily living activities, contact people you know, and examine your work history and duties. They will also request copies of your medical records from the physicians, hospitals, and other medical providers you listed in your application.
The state may also have a doctor review the records to help make a determination. Typically, this process takes three to four months. Once a decision is made regarding your eligibility, your local SSA office will send you a notice of approval or denial.
What To Do If You Receive A Denial
It’s essential to keep in mind that most Social Security disability claims are initially denied, so don’t give up if you receive a denial. You have 60 days to appeal the decision. If you haven’t already contacted a Social Security disability attorney to help with your case after you receive a denial, now is the time to do so. An attorney can act as your advocate and provide guidance to help you understand the next steps in the Social Security disability application process.
At this stage, the SSA will review your case and reconsider whether you’re eligible for benefits. Unfortunately, at the reconsideration stage, most applicants are denied again.
Requesting A Hearing
After a second denial, you have 60 days to appeal and request a hearing in front of a judge. Again, taking swift action is vital, as hearings take an average of 12 months to schedule. Successfully representing yourself at a hearing is extremely difficult, so it’s critical to have an attorney by your side. Your attorney will ensure that your case is properly prepared and presented to the judge. If the judge requires medical and vocational experts to testify about your condition, your lawyer will also know how to cross-examine these experts.
If your case is denied at a hearing, you can appeal the judge’s decision to the Social Security Administration Appeals Council. Generally, the appeals council only reviews cases if there’s been some type of legal error. If your appeal is based on the judge’s interpretation, they may refuse to hear the appeal. This review process can take up to 18 months.
If the Appeals Council refuses to review your case, you can continue to appeal the decision in the Federal District Court. These types of cases are challenging and time-consuming, but having a seasoned Social Security Disability attorney in your corner can increase your chances of obtaining the SSDI benefits you need.
Contact A Social Security Disability Lawyer To Learn More
At Stanley Law Firm, our Social Security Disability attorneys are here to help you understand your rights and guide you through the process every step of the way. We know that it takes true grit to win a case, and we’ll fight tirelessly to help you get the benefits you deserve. Don’t go it alone, phone us at 866-553-7125 or 800-372-3760, or contact us online. Our offices are located in Binghamton, Syracuse, Watertown, or Rochester, New York, and Montrose, Pennsylvania. Se habla español.