What is the process for applying for Social Security Disability & SSI benefits?
If you believe you are entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must submit an Application (online, by phone, in-person at a Social Security office, or mailed in) to the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA examiners review the application, including the nature and severity of your impairment, medical records, work history, age and level of education, and if you could do other work. Social Security may also require you to be examined by a doctor they select.
Do not be discouraged by the process. It can be a challenge, and we understand that and regularly assist clients seeking SSD and SSI benefits. Only 30 percent of all applications are approved at the initial level of the disability claim process.
If your SSD or SSI Application is denied, then you have 60 days to request Reconsideration. The process essentially is repeated with updated information from you. But again, it is a challenge to win at this stage. Roughly 85 percent of all applications are denied at the reconsideration level of the disability claim process.
If Reconsideration is denied, then you have 60 days to appeal and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At the ALJ is when you have your best chance to win. We regularly represent clients at every stage of the process, from initial application to ALJ hearing, and your chances of winning at every one of those stages is better if you have an attorney.
Before and at your ALJ hearing, you may submit updated information and evidence to the Social Security Administration and appear for a hearing. At the hearing, the ALJ and your attorney will ask you questions about your medical condition and your ability to do any work. Then, the ALJ and your attorney will ask a vocational expert about whether there are any jobs you could perform given your medical condition and limitations.
The ALJ will then consider all the evidence and issue a written decision after the hearing. However, the entire process from application to ALJ decision can take up to two years. We recognize that it is difficult for individuals who cannot work and are suffering with a medical condition to wait that long and make every effort to move your case as quickly as we can, and also get you the best result.
Have more questions about the process for applying for SSD or SSI? Give our office a call at (610) 446-3457 or click here to send us an email.