Consider for a moment what you would do if you were suddenly unable to work? No income, no heath insurance, no way to make ends meet. Each and every day, thousands of hard-working Americans are faced with this exact situation.
Due to disabling conditions that prevent them from maintaining employment, millions of Americans are suffering severe financial burdens that Social Security Disability benefits are intended to help. Unfortunately, actually obtaining disability benefits from the Social Security Administration isn't always as easy as one would think.
If you are a disabled worker in the Richmond, California area and you are considering a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, don't file your application without the following advice.
About Richmond, California
Richmond's economy is diverse, with Kaiser Permanente and Richmond Medical Center being the largest employers in the city. Oil also contributes to Richmond's economy, with Chevron USA running an oil refinery in the city, which holds the capacity of 15 million barrels of oil.The city's port also plays a large role in Richmond's economic well-being. Recently, construction has seen major growth in the area with the former Richmond shipyards being transformed into residential properties. The recycling, high-tech and manufacturing sectors are also vital to the economic climate of the Richmond area.
Applying for Richmond Social Security Disability Benefits
The City of Richmond is home to more than 103,000 California residents. In the State of California, approximately 2.9 percent of the population receives Social Security Disability benefits with an average monthly disability claim payment of $1,083.80 per month.
While this monthly benefit amount can significantly help disabled Richmond workers get back on their feet, the truth is that most Richmond, CA disability applicants will have to wait an average of 504 days before completing a claim for disability benefits to begin receiving payments.
Many of the people who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits in Richmond wonder why it takes so long to have a disability claim processed. After all, the initial application process only takes three to four months to complete. Why does it take nearly two years to begin receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration?
The reason for the extensive wait times is that the Social Security Administration denies approximately 70 percent of the initial claims received each year. A disability appeal will normally consist of two stages including a Request for Reconsideration and a disability hearing, which is where the significant wait times come into play.
The offices in charge of managing the hearings for Social Security Disability applicants is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. Due to the extensive backlog of appeals that these offices handle, it can take months or even years before an individual is able to complete the disability appeal process. The Oakland ODAR office is the office that is in charge of scheduling the disability hearings for Richmond Social Security Disability applicants. It takes this office an average of fourteen months to schedule a disability hearing before an administrative law judge.
Hiring a Richmond Disability Attorney
If you hope to increase your chances of receiving Social Security Disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process, thereby avoiding the need for a lengthy disability appeal, you should consider retaining the services of a Richmond Social Security Disability attorney prior to filing a claim for your benefits.
Your attorney can work with you to gather the medical evidence that will be needed to prove your severe impairment to the Social Security Administration and will help you present your application in such a way that you have the best possible chance of approval at the initial stage of the application process.
If, for some reason, your initial claim for benefits is denied by the Social Security Administration, your Richmond Social Security Disability lawyer will help you file an appeal to overturn the SSA's decision to deny your benefits. The majority of disability applicants will have to go through two stages of appeals before being granted benefits.
The Request for Reconsideration is the first stage of the disability appeal, which is likely to be denied by the Social Security Administration. In fact, more than 80 percent of these appeals are not awarded. The stage of appeal that you and your Richmond Social Security attorney will be focusing on is the disability hearing. It is at this hearing that you have the greatest chance of successfully appealing the denial of your disability benefits.
When preparing for your disability hearing, your Richmond Social Security lawyer will help you gather additional medical evidence to prove your disability to the administrative law judge who will be overseeing your disability case. He or she may also retain expert medical and vocational witnesses to testify on your behalf.
Nearly two-thirds of these cases are decided in the favor of the disability applicant. It is important to remember, however, that trying to represent yourself at this hearing will significantly decrease your chances of a favorable hearing outcome. That is why the services of a Richmond disability attorney are crucial if you want the best chance of receiving the Social Security Disability benefits you may be entitled to.
A Richmond Social Security Disability lawyer will also handle disability claims in the following cities located in Contra Costa County, Solanos County, Alameda County, San Francisco County, Sacramento County, and San Joaquin County: El Cerrito, San Pablo, Rollington, Kenington, Albany, Oakland, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Rafael, Novato, Vallejo, Pittsburg, Berkeley, Piedmont, San Leandro, and Hayward.