The Application And Appeals Processes For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
If you have been unable to work for a year or longer, or if you anticipate being unable to work for a year or longer because of an illness, or a mental or physical disability, you can apply directly to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits. However, you should be prepared for a denial of your initial application. Why? Because most initial applications are not approved, and the Administration has strict requirements that govern the type of proof you must provide. However, the initial application is still an essential part of the process.
Some SSDI lawyers tell people, “Apply and get your rejection; then seek legal counsel.” At Herndon, Coleman, Brading, & McKee, LLP, we welcome inquiries at any stage of the application and appeals processes. Let us help you get the benefits you need.
Levels Of Appeals
A recent research study by Social Security found that of all SSDI approvals, nearly one third were appeals filed by people whose initial applications were denied. If your application is denied, don’t be discouraged. Seek legal help and know that your benefits might still be approved. Let us help you understand a little about the appeals process for SSDI applications.
Your initial application is reviewed by Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state-level Social Security Disability review body. If you are denied, with the help of our attorneys, you may file an appeal within sixty (60) days of your denial:
- You will ask the Social Security Administration (SSA) to reconsider your application. The agency will use reviewers who were not involved in your initial application’s denial. You may include additional evidence in your application for reconsideration. You may receive an answer after about 150 days.
- If your application is still denied after reconsideration, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) with DDS. The typical wait time for such a hearing ranges from 5- 15 months. At your hearing, you may call witnesses to testify for you. You can expect a decision on your application within a few weeks or months after your hearing.
- If your appeal is still denied, you may try again by appealing online or with a paper form through the SSA’s Appeals Council. It may take a year to get an answer at this stage of appeals.
- If you are still denied upon appealing through SSA’s Appeals Council, you can file in the U.S. District Court and, if necessary, in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
At each stage of the SSDI appeals process, you have a chance for your application to be approved. Each stage also takes time. If your application is ultimately approved, you will be eligible for back pay for the benefits you would have received if your initial application had been approved.
We Will Represent You On A Contingency Basis
If our attorneys represent you in your Social Security Disability case, we will not expect payment from you until and unless your case is approved.
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