Many potential clients are curious about the Social Security Disability application process.
Step 1 The Application
This first step is filing the application. This can be done online through the Social Security Administrations website or by contacting your local Social Security Office. Questions often arise as to whether to apply for SSDI, SSI or both. This depends on a variety of factors. It also depends on the benefits that you are eligible for under each program.
Step 2 Application Review
Next the application will be reviewed to see if the claimant is disabled. Social Security has a strict definition of “disability.” To learn more about when Social Security considers a claimant disabled, see our prior blog post. If Social Security does not find that you are disabled, then your claim will be denied. You have 60 days to file a Request for Reconsideration.
Step 2 Request for Reconsideration
During the Request for Reconsideration stage, Social Security will review your application again along with any new information that is provided including recent medical appointments. You and/or your family members may receive forms to complete. Finally, you may also be sent to an exam to have a doctor hired by Social Security examine you or perform tests. If Social Security does not find that you are disable, then a second denial of your claim will be issued. You have 60 days to file a Request for Hearing.
Step 3 Request for Hearing
After a Request for Hearing is filed, your claim will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). You and your attorney will attend the hearing, and you will testify. After reviewing your medical records and hearing your testimony, the ALJ will issue a ruling in your case. If the ALJ denies your claim, then under certain circumstances, you may be able to file an appeal within 60 days of the ruling, or sometimes you may be able to file a new application.
Although the Social Security Disability application process itself is not complicated, it is lengthy. There are also many pitfalls that an unrepresented claimant is not aware of. If you have filed your Social Security Disability application and been denied, contact us now for a free initial consultation to see if your denial should be appealed.