The Social Security Disability Process
Obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is a complex and time consuming process. The Social Security Administration relies on medical evidence in making a determination as to whether someone is able to work. Knowing what information is important and how to present that information is crucial to getting approved for disability benefits.
The first step in getting benefits is the initial application. This application can be filled out in person at the local social security administration office or online. Once the application is complete, the Social Security Administration will review the application and gather medical records from your doctors. The medical records will be reviewed by the Disability Adjudication Section. In some cases, the Disability Adjudication Section may send you to be examined by one of their doctors. Once this review process is complete, the Disability Adjudication Section will issue a decision that will be mailed to you.
If your initial application is denied, the second step is to file a request for reconsideration. The request for reconsideration can also be filed online or in person at your local social security office. The deadline for filing the request for reconsideration will be 60 days from the date of the decision. It is very important that you file the request for reconsideration before the 60 days expires. If you do not file within the 60 days, you will most likely have to start the process all over again.
Once the request for reconsideration is submitted, the Social Security Administration will review the request, the initial application and all medical evidence that has been submitted to that point. Once this review is complete, the Social Security Administration will once again issue a written decision on your claim that will be sent to you by mail.
If you are turned down after submitting the request for reconsideration, the next step is to request a hearing. A request for a hearing means that you are asking to have an in person hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing, your attorney will be allowed to present evidence on your behalf. This evidence may include taking your testimony and the testimony of any witnesses that will help the Judge make his or her decision on your claim.
The Importance of Deadlines
It is extremely important that you abide by the deadlines set by the Social Security Administration. If you are turned down initially, you only have 60 days to file the request for reconsideration. If your request for reconsideration is denied, you only have 60 days to request a hearing. If you miss one of the 60 day deadlines, you will most likely have to start the process all over again. Make sure you note your deadline as soon as you receive the decision from the Social Security Administration.
You should have an attorney represent you at your hearing. At this stage of the process knowing what evidence to present and how to present it can be the difference between getting a favorable decision and being denied again. At Perkins Studdard, we have years of experience preparing successful cases for the Social Security Administration.
Remember, getting your disability benefits can be a long and difficult process. If you have applied for disability benefits and have been turned down or if you have any questions about Social Security Disability, give Perkins Studdard a call or complete the “Need Help” form at your right. There is no charge for a consultation and we will work hard to help you get the benefits you deserve.