The process involved in applying for Social Security Disability benefits is typically fairly involved and time consuming, and one where retaining a Social Security Disability attorney can greatly benefit an applicant. Throughout the process there are a variety of different areas where the knowledge and experience of an attorney can prevent missteps or speed along the application process, and we encourage anyone applying for Social Security Disability benefits to discuss the advantages that legal representation can bring to the process before they begin their application. Several million people apply for Social Security Disability benefits every year, and only about thirty percent are approved during the initial application stages.
Generally there are five stages to the application process, however some people will be able to get a successful outcome without having to go through them all. The process begins with filing an initial application to the Social Security Administration. Initial applications are typically handled through local Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices or in some cases through a state agency. The initial application will include your medical records and supporting evidence, as well as information about your work history. Applicants should be aware that it is in their best interests to provide as much detail as possible in the filing, because this information can have significant impacts on the eventual result of their application. The initial application usually takes between 90 and 120 days to get an answer back, and only around 30% of applicants will be accepted at this stage.
If the initial claim is rejected, the applicant will have 60 days to appeal the decision to the SSA, where it will be given a second review. The reconsideration process usually takes between three and five months to be completed.
The second level of appeals process is requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge, who will review the applicant’s claim. An applicant has sixty days from the date that the SSA rejected their review to file for this hearing. At the hearing, the administrative law judge will do one of three things:
- Approve the claim;
- Deny the claim; or
- Send the claim back to the SSA for further review.
Completing the hearing process can sometimes take up to two years, though the average time is typically about a year and a half. In October of 2014, the backlog was 990,399 cases. The approval rates by the Administrative Law Judges vary. Nationally they are 44%, Ohio 39%, and Columbus 43%.
When the administrative judge rejects an application during the hearing process, an applicant can file an appeal with the appeals council for a review.
Finally, an applicant’s last avenue of appeal is to have his/her case reviewed in the Federal District Court system. The Federal District Court can approve or deny a claim, or send it back to the SSA for additional review.
Contact An Ohio Social Security Attorney
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a daunting process, and certainly is an intimidating one. Retaining an experienced attorney not only will greatly increase an applicant’s chances of success at an early stage of the application process, it will also help to reduce the stress and aggravation of the process. The earlier in the application process they retain an attorney the better it will be for the applicant, so we encourage you to contact the Law Office of Mike Gertner today.