You can submit a Social Security disability benefits application several ways including:
- At a local Social Security Administration office
If you follow our tips on reducing the wait time between submitting an application and receiving a decision, then you can expect to see a decision on your disability claim in about six months. The SSA needs to have everything on your application correctly submitted otherwise you will likely face delays as a result of requests for additional information such as medical documentation. There are several other reasons for delays so make sure you read our steps to speed up the application process.
Once the SSA approves your claim, you can expect to receive your first Social Security disability benefits check within a couple of months. If your claim took over 5 months to receive a decision, the SSA would compensate you in addition to your monthly benefits.
This compensation is known as “back pay” and is the amount of monthly benefits you should have been awarded if your claim received a claim after the appropriate waiting period. Also note, if you delayed submitting your Social Security disability benefits application because you were too sick to work, you might be able to earn additional compensation through past-due benefits, often referred to as retroactive payments. You could potentially be looking at a five-figure compensation settlement depending on the waiting period you experienced.
However, what if your disability claim wasn’t approved? Do not panic; you are allowed to submit an appeal request to the SSA to further information as to why you were denied and what you need to be approved.
Stages Of The Appeals Process
The Social Security disability appeal process can be split into 4 stages. With each stage having varying acceptance rates. These stages include Reconsideration, a Hearing, Appeals Council, and Federal Court.
- The Reconsideration phase allows you to go online and request that the SSA reviews your disability claim again. Unfortunately, this stage is even more difficult than the first application to be approved for disability benefits. Applicants see a 15% chance of approval during this stage, which means your case will probably need a hearing.
- The Hearing stage is where you provide your case to a judge. You’re permitted to plead your case in person and utilize medical professionals, witness testimony, and lawyers to help your case win. The judge will proceed to ask you questions regarding the extent of your disabling condition, and may even use a medical professional to review your answers. Statistics reveal that this is the stage where success is most likely, considering about 50% of applications who plead their case at a hearing are approved for Social Security disability benefits.
- If your hearing resulted in you being denied disability benefits, the next step in the appeal process involves presenting your claim to a Social Security Appeals Council, who will then review the judge’s decision on your case. This Council will either approve or deny your case themselves or redirect your claim back to another hearing. At this stage, you’re unable to prove additional medical documentation.
If the Appeals Council denies your claim, your last option is to submit a lawsuit to a Federal District Court. You’ll need the help of a professional Social Security disability attorney at this point, considering claims that reach this stage are extremely difficult to win.
Why You Need A SSD Lawyer
You are permitted to be legally represented at any stage of the appeal process. Since the entire process from applying to appealing is extremely complex and simply confusing for many people, it’s highly recommended you at least speak with an SSD lawyer before you even consider submitting an application.
The help of a professional Social Security disability advocate or lawyer can help raise the chances of your disability claim being approved by the SSA. An attorney can make sure your application does not present glaring flaws, errors, and misinformation. They can help you gather medical documentation and suggest ways to strengthen your claim such as keeping a journal depicting how your disability affects your everyday life.
The best thing about hiring a lawyer is that you do not need to worry about whether or not you can afford one, this is because attorneys do not require payment unless you win your disability case. If your Social Security disability claim is approved with the help of an attorney, they could be entitled to take 25% of your back pay, or $6,000, whichever amount is less. You won’t ever have to pay for a lawyer out of your pocket, and your monthly benefits will not be adversely affected by hiring a lawyer.