Social Security Disability Claims & Applications
If you have ever filed for Social Security disability, then you know how long and daunting the process can be. Our office helps to ensure Social Security receives the accurate information they need for your claim, and that they receive it as quickly as possible. Every stage of the process has deadlines so it is vital that your records are submitted timely so Social Security can make an informed decision. It’s important to us that you understand and fully informed at every step of the process. This will alleviate any confusion you feel from having to wait for a decision to be made on your claim. Below, we discuss what happens in each step of the process, and how long it takes to receive a decision.
The SSD Claim Process:
Social Security Disability Applications:
We help applicants from the beginning to the very end. If you want to inquire about disability, if you want to file an application, or if you've been denied and need help with the next step, we are here to help at all stages. If we are able to start a new claim for you, we take care of filing an application online on your behalf. We gather and send general background information, work history information, and medical history information. After we file your application, your claim moves to the Initial phase.
During the Initial phase, the Social Security Field Office will determine if you meet the technical aspects for a claim. During the technical phase, they will not look at your medical conditions, they will only examine your work history, current household income, and your assets. Once they verify that your claim meets the technical requirements, they send your claim to Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS will determine if you meet the medical requirements. At DDS, they request medical records from the sources you provided on your application. They review your medical records in order to make a decision on your claim. Typically it takes an average of 3-6 months to receive the first decision on your application. If your claim is denied, we work with you to file an appeal, and your claim moves to the Reconsideration phase.
If you were denied at the initial phase, we will work on your appeal. You have 60 days in order to file an appeal once you receive a denial. When we file an appeal, we provide Social Security with updated information regarding your medical conditions. We inform them of any new conditions you have been diagnosed with, any changes to your current conditions, and recent visits you have made to your doctor. Once Social Security has this information, they will likely request updated evidence and make another decision. Typically it takes Social Security an average of 3-6 months to make a second decision on your claim. If your claim is denied a second time, we work with you to file an appeal, and your claim moves to the Hearing phase.
If you are denied at the reconsideration phase, we will request a hearing before a judge. You have 60 days to file a request for hearing once denied at the reconsideration phase. At the hearing, you will be represented by our disability attorney. Just as in previous stages, we provide Social Security with updated information about your conditions. We work with you to ensure all relevant evidence on your claim has been collected. Once the hearing is scheduled, if any medical evidence is missing, we will request it in order to complete the file. It is vital at this stage to make sure all medical records are in your file. If medical records are missing, the judge may not give you additional time to submit those records. In addition, if medical records are missing, the judge cannot give any weight to records they do not have.
Once a Request for Hearing is filed, it typically takes 12-18 months to get a hearing scheduled, and most hearings are scheduled 3-6 months out. Social Security has thousands of claims to schedule for a hearing, and they schedule them in the order they are received. If your condition is terminal or if you are in a dire need situation, your case may be heard sooner then expected. Although the wait for a hearing date can be long, the hearing is the best chance for approval. This will be the first opportunity to appear before an administrative law judge and present your arguments before the judge. Your attorney will prepare you for your hearing and will fight to prove your disability. If your claim is denied by the judge, our disability attorney will review your claim to see if we should appeal the decision again, or if we should start a new claim (if possible).
The appeals council won’t review new evidence on your claim. They will only review the evidence the judge had available to determine whether the judge made a proper decision. This process usually takes 18-24 months. If the Appeals Council believes the judge made an incorrect decision, they will send it back to the hearing office, who will schedule another hearing before the same judge. If the Appeals Council agrees with the Judge’s decision, you do have the option of filing an appeal with the Federal District Court. However, our office does not assist with these types of appeals.
We hope you find the information above helpful and informative. Remember that each case is unique. If you have additional questions, please call our office at 210-885-3408. You have a team of people waiting to assist you