July 3, 2013
There are three ways to apply for social security disability; online, on the phone, or in your local social security office. If you are filing for disability, you should know that this is a long and time-consuming process, but the lawyers at King Law Offices are more than happy to help you through it.
You should apply for Social Security Disability when your disability is any condition, or combination of conditions, which is serious enough to keep you out of work for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death.
The process of applying falls along a basic series of applications that will vary depending on if/when you are denied or approved.
The first step is the Initial Application. This step involves a phone call to the social security administration or by filing out an online application, followed by an in person or over the phone interview. During this first step you will need to gather your medical records and a list of all the doctors from whom you have received treatment. Once this first step is completed, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to receive a response. If after the initial application you are denied, you have only 60 days to appeal.
This appeal takes us to the second step, Reconsideration. You must file a request for reconsideration and provide updated medical information about your condition and any treatments, tests or doctors visits that have occurred since you first applied. Unless your new medical evidence is very convincing or your condition has significantly worsened your reconsideration is likely to be denied. Do not worry! This denial is not fatal to your claim, but it is a necessary step to go through in order to reach step number three.
This third step is a Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This step is a further appeal after your request for reconsideration is denied. This step is where you will get the chance to talk to a judge, who will listen to your medical evidence and hear your symptoms. The Judge will ask about why you cannot do previous work anymore and why you cannot do any work now or in the future. During this step you have the best chance of winning your disability claim, however it can take a long time to get a hearing date—anywhere from 15 to 18 months or longer. If you win at this step you will receive a Notice of Decision from the Judge and a Notice of Award from the SSA. In this letter you find out your benefit amounts, how much you will receive monthly, and when your payments will begin.
If the ALJ denies your appeal you proceed to step four, Appeals Council Review. The Appeals council of the SSA consists of over 100 Administrative Appeals Judges and Officers. If you choose to appeal the ALJ decision to deny your claim, an Administrative Appeals Judge will review and determine if the ALJ made an error at the hearing level. This step could take anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
If you are denied by the Appeals Council you can continue onto the fifth and final step, suing the SAA commissioner in Federal District Court. You have 60 days to appeal the Appeals Council review denial. This is a complex and time consuming process taking at minimum 18 months.
Applying for Social Security Disability can be overwhelming and stressful and this brief overview does not cover all the details involved. Here at King Law Offices we are eager to help streamline this process and get you your benefits as quickly as possible. Give our office a call to discuss your options and begin the steps to getting your disability claim approved.