Process of Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Georgia Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer
Oct 30, 2019 | Sara Khaki

The initial Social Security disability application process can be done online, over the phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. If you are applying for regular Social Security disability benefits, you can do the whole process on the phone, online, or in person.

However, if you are applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there is only so much of the process that can be done online. The latter half of the process usually needs to be done over the phone or in person with Social Security. While applying does not take much time, waiting for a decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA) about your eligibility status takes about three months.

In the meantime, SSA may send you more forms to complete and documents to produce or ask you for a list of doctors that you are seeing. It may seek medical records from those healthcare providers, as well. This process typically takes three to five months, and most people – about 90 percent – get denied on their initial application.

A legal representative from our firm can help you with any part of the process, even with the initial application. Since most lawyers do not charge any upfront attorney’s fees, it is in your best interest to retain legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced hearing claims advocate can help you receive the benefits you deserve and keep the SSA from dragging their feet.

Appealing a Denial of Benefits

After you receive a denial of benefits, you have 60 days to appeal the SSA’s decision. Once you appeal it, your case goes through an identical process as the initial application but with a new adjudicator. They typically ask for more documents, and an attorney can help you answer any additional inquiries from the SSA.

Appealing an initial denial usually entails another three-to-five-month process, and an overwhelming majority of people are met with a second denial. At that point, you would have 60 days to appeal your second denial and request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Attending an Administrative Hearing with an Attorney

Your legal counsel can help prepare your file for court for administrative review. One of our well-versed hearing advocates would also be able to cross-examine a vocational expert on your behalf.

The time between when you request a hearing and actually getting to attend can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months, depending on the region. During that time, your legal representatives should be preparing your files, gathering all the medical evidence that the SSA needs, getting in touch with your doctors, and obtaining written statements from relevant healthcare providers.

Having legal representation at an administrative hearing can make a substantial difference in reaching a favorable outcome. In fact, most local judges do not feel comfortable hearing a claimant who is representing themselves because these court proceedings are based on administrative errors. An administrative law judge is responsible for reviewing the process of determination used by the SSA.

It would especially difficult to explain errors in the SSA’s application of disability standards to a person without a hearing advocate. A judge can even postpone a case and make it drag on even longer if an applicant doesn’t have representative. For this reason, you should get in touch with our qualified legal team for help with advocating your needs before a judge.

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