Edmond, Oklahoma, is a town of approximately 81,000 residents and is located on scenic Route 66. It’s known for its historic downtown area, and the education and service industries play a strong role in Edmond’s economy, with top area employers including Edmond Public Schools, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Adfitech.
According to the Social Security Administration, around 5.6% of Oklahoma residents are unable to work due to a disability. However, this figure includes only those individuals who are currently receiving Social Security disability benefits. It doesn’t account for the several thousand disabled Oklahoma workers who are currently undergoing the Social Security Administration’s lengthy appeals process.
It can be difficult for individuals who have paid into the Social Security system for years to be denied disability benefits if they are unable to work, but for nearly 70% of Social Security disability applicants, that is what happens. Hiring an experienced Edmond Social Security disability attorney at the beginning of the process can increase the chance that you will be in the 30% minority who have their benefits granted on the first go-around.
If you do receive a denial, you can still retain the services of a knowledgeable Edmond disability lawyer during the appeals process. The first stage of appeal is called “Request for Reconsideration,” and involves another Social Security Administration (SSA) employee reviewing your file to verify that the denial was in fact correct. Although this sounds simple, it can take two to four months for this second decision to be made (on top of the three to five months it took for the first decision to be issued.)
Although Edmond’s cost-of-living is around 5% lower than the national average, and the median household income is a respectable $69,081, it can still be very difficult for a disabled Edmond worker to support their families on little or no income while in the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits.
If the reconsideration decision confirms the denial, the applicant or their Edmond disability attorney can file a “Request for Administrative Law Judge Hearing.” This is arguably the most important stage in the process, as nearly two-thirds of hearings result in a favorable decision for the claimant.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to do everything you can to prepare for this hearing, which is why an Edmond Social Security lawyer can be of great benefit. You may know how you feel, but the judge is going to want to see specific objective evidence, such as medical records, documenting your disability. A skilled Edmond disability attorney knows how to review your medical records to find the most relevant portions, may even be able to write to the judge summarizing your situation and asking that your claim be granted prior to hearing (called an “on the record request.”).
An Edmond Social Security attorney can also prepare you for the hearing so that you feel more comfortable in answering the judge’s questions honestly and in a straightforward manner. If the SSA hires a medical expert, such as a doctor, or a vocational (employment) expert to testify at your hearing, it can be a great asset to have an experienced disability attorney on your side to cross-examine them.
Unfortunately, you may be in for a very long wait before actually getting in front of a judge. The office that schedules these hearings for Edmond Social Security disability applicants is the Oklahoma City SSD hearing office, and the average wait is 342 days. This doesn’t include the time spent waiting for the first two decisions in the claim.
That’s why it’s a smart idea to retain the services of a skilled Oklahoma disability attorney as early in the process as possible. You will save yourself a lot of stress, time, and frustration if you’re able to get your disability claim granted at one of the first two levels versus having to wait more than a year for a hearing and then having to appear in front of a judge.
Social Security disability attorneys in Edmond will also handle other Oklahoma County claims as well as those in Logan, Lincoln, Canadian, and Cleveland counties, and cities such as Oklahoma City, Waterloo, Witcher, Britton, Forest Park, Lakeview and Spencer.