Application and Appeal of Your Social Security Disability Case

What is the first step to apply for SSD?

It is important not to delay-apply as soon as you are disabled. The Social Security Administration processing time is between 3-6 months. It is possible to apply by telephone by calling the Social Security "hotline" at (800) 772-1213. Applications can be done by telephone or scheduling an appointment at your local office. It is also to apply directly online, at the Social Security Administration website SSA.GOV.

Why are applications for SSD denied?

In some jurisdictions, as many as 80% of claims are denied at the initial administrative stage. Sometimes claims are denied because there is missing medical evidence or your doctors did not understand the legal requirements of Social Security. There is a huge variation in decisions from the Social Security Administration, from State to State and from office to office. In fact, there is random “luck” or “bad luck,” depending on which claims examiner is assigned to your file. Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Randy Zeldin, Esq. will work with your medical providers to make certain that the medical proof is as strong as possible.

What is the most important application mistake to avoid?

The first common mistake is failure to discuss your application for Social Security disability with your medical provider. It is important to be certain that your medical provider will support your application, with the substance of the medical records and in supplemental reports. Once your initial application has been submitted, make certain that your medical provider responds to the requests from the Social Security Administration for medical records and reports.

Many people give up after they are denied. It is important to request reconsideration and/or an appeal of your claim. It is at this stage that legal representation can help. Under law, there is a maximum of 60 days in which to timely file an appeal or it will be forever barred.

What is "reconsideration" and "appeal?"

Actually, there are four levels of appeal if your claim is denied:

  1. "Reconsideration" is when the Social Security Administration takes a second review of your claim, often with new medical evidence. The Office of Disability Determination Services handles the “reconsideration” phase of your case. Statistically, about 25% of cases are won nationwide at this level. The Social Security Adjudicator will re-review the existing evidence, consider newly submitted evidence and often obtain a fresh independent medical examination. An attorney’s involvement at Reconsideration can often bring positive outcomes.
  2. "Appeal" is when the case is brought before a Social Security Judge. The Office of Disability Appeals and Review is the home of the Social Security Judges. Locally, the Judges are based in Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Unfortunately, waiting time to obtain a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is greater than one year.
  3. "Appeals Council" is the body of judges in Washington, D.C. which will hear an appeal of an unfavorable decision from a Social Security Judge.
  4. U. S. Federal Court is the final and last opportunity to appeal an unfavorable decision.
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