Most of us live from paycheck to paycheck, taking for granted that we will be able to continue working in order to make ends meet. Unfortunately, in some cases, a situation arises where we are no longer able to continue working due to a long-term or permanent disability. In such cases, the paychecks we have relied upon stop coming and the bills begin to pile up. It is in circumstances such as these that Social Security Disability benefits are intended to help.
Unfortunately, actually obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is a task that is not easily accomplished. In fact, your chances of being denied benefits are greater than your chances of actually being approved when you file a disability application. If you want to tip the scales in your favor, you need some help. This is where the services of a attorney can be crucial.
If you live in the South Bend, Indiana area and are in need of Social Security Disability benefits, you need to consult with a South Bend Social Security Disability attorney if you hope to have the best chance of obtaining the Social Security Disability benefits you so desperately need.
South Bend's flourishing economy benefits from diversity and growth. In 2004, Expansion Management magazine ranked South Bend among the 40 hottest real estate markets for businesses due to the area's available land, office and industrial space and the prominent redevelopment opportunities.
The main players in the economic well-being of the city include the educational, health services, wholesale, retail, manufacturing and government sectors. The median household income in South Bend is $32,778 and the cost of living for the city is almost ten percent less than the national average. Some of the city's top employers include the University of Notre Dame, Memorial Health System, South Bend Community School Corp. and AM General.
Applying for South Bend Social Security Disability Benefits
South Bend is home to more than 105,000 Indiana residents. In the State of Indiana, approximately 4.6 percent of the population receives Social Security Disability benefits. The average monthly disability amount for these recipients is $1,064.90. While there is no doubt that this monthly payment can help offset some of the financial stress caused by a disability, these benefits do not come quickly enough for most disability applicants. In fact, it will take the average South Bend disability applicant approximately 304 days to complete the Social Security Disability claim process.
Why does it take an average of 304 days to complete a disability claim in the South Bend area? Isn't the disability claim process only supposed to last three or four months? While it is true that the initial application process for Social Security Disability benefits does take only three to four months to complete, nearly 70 percent of initial claims are denied by the Social Security Administration. This results in the need for a disability appeal, which takes much longer.
The disability appeal process consists of various steps that an applicant must go through in an effort to overturn the SSA's decision to deny their disability benefits. In most cases, disability applicants will only have to go through two steps of the appeal process – the Request for Reconsideration and the disability hearing. While the Request for Reconsideration only takes approximately three to four months to complete, the majority of these requests are not granted by the Social Security Administration. This results in the need for a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The good news is that South Bend Social Security Disability applicants have a much shorter wait time for a disability hearing than most of the nation. The office that is in charge of scheduling these hearings is the Valparaiso ODAR office. The bad news is that it still takes this office an average of eight months before setting a hearing date before an administrative law judge.
Hiring a South Bend Disability Attorney
If you hope to avoid the disability appeal process and an eight-month wait for a disability hearing, you should consult with a South Bend Social Security Attorney prior to filing your disability claim. Your lawyer will review your claim with you and will help you gather the medical evidence needed to prove your disability to the Social Security Administration.
If, for some reason, your claim is still denied or if your claim was denied prior to you seeking the help of a South Bend Social Security attorney, there is still hope. A South Bend Social Security lawyer can represent you through each stage of the disability appeal process and can actually increase your chances of overturning the SSA's decision to deny your disability benefits. In fact, statistics show that disability applicants who have legal representation during their disability hearing are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves. This is why it is crucial to have a South Bend disability attorney representing you in your disability appeal.
A South Bend Social Security Disability lawyer will also handle disability claims in the following cities located in St. Joseph County, La Porte County, Starke County, Marshall County, Kosciusko County, and Elkhart County: Mishawaka, Osceola, Elkhart, Dunlap, Fort Wayne, Bristol, Middlebury, Goshen, Roseland, Georgetown, Westfield, Crumstown, New Carlisle, Michigan City, Gilmer Park, LaPorte, Walkerton, Valparaiso, and Plymouth.