Applying for Social Security Disability can be complicated and overwhelming. A lot of pressure can be put on the applicant when making that initial request, and while it is possible for the individual to be successful in preparing the application and submitting it on his or her own, having an attorney can always help.
In fact, in some situations, an attorney can even assist the client in preparing and submitting the first application. We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
The first stage of applying for Social Security Disability benefits is to file the application, along with the accompanying paperwork. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will need documentation to prove that the claimant is not able to work because of his or her disability.
It would benefit the individual applying for benefits to have an attorney at this specific step of the process because he or she will be able to ensure that all of the needed information is submitted and that the proper type of documentation is given.
If an attorney has a lot of experience in this area of the law, he or she will know what information to include on the application and what type of documentation is needed to be successful.
Once the application is submitted, the SSA sends the applicant’s file for review, to be approved or denied, based on the information given in the application. It helps to give as much information upfront as is needed to be successful.
What Is Involved in the Application?
The application for Social Security Disability can be done online, over the phone or even at the local Social Security Office. As part of the application, the applicant will need to respond to certain questions regarding the disability, his or her work history and the ability the applicant has to continue working.
An Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire will also need to be submitted. Submitting medical records will also be required, and the applicant may also have to undergo a medical exam.
Further, the applicant will need to provide enough proof that the disability will last at least twelve months or longer before the disability will be considered.
How Are the Social Security Claims Evaluated?
After the initial application has been submitted, the local Social Security office will need to review all of the information submitted to ensure that the individual has worked enough to actually qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits.
They will also want to review the applicant’s current employment status to make sure the applicant is not disqualified from receiving disability benefits. Once that initial claim is evaluated, the local office will send the application to the Disability Determination Services department for a full and more thorough review and determination on whether the claim will be approved or denied.
This department will careful go through everything to make sure enough medical documentation to show that the disability exists is there. If not, the department may require the applicant to go through an additional consultative exam.
They will review everything submitted to see if the applicant is able to perform the work that he or she was doing before the disability occurred or whether he or she will be able to do any work at all.
How Is the Decision Issued?
After the SSA reviews the application, they may a determination on whether the application is approved or denied. The applicant will receive notification in a written letter. If approved, the amount of monthly benefits as well as when the benefits will start will be in this letter.
If a denial is made, the letter will describe why the application was denied and will also state what needs to be done to appeal the decision. This letter should be shared with the attorney who assisted in the application as soon as possible, especially if a denial is given.
Time is of the essence when it comes to making an appeal, and the date of denial given on the letter will dictate when the clock starts running.
How Long It Takes to Process the Application
The average application normally takes between three to six months for a determination to be made. However, if the applicant qualifies for the Social Security’s Compassionate Allowance program, he or she may get a quicker approval if he or she has one of the qualified disabilities listed in the program.
In these cases, a determination can be made as quickly as in five days.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you are in the middle of a complicated social security disability dispute and have questions about whether an attorney is needed for the application, it is recommended that you contact a social security attorney to discuss your options.
An attorney can listen to the facts of the case and can best advise you on how to proceed. Contact an attorney experienced in social security disability to schedule a consultation today.