Social Security Disability
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If an individual believes they meet these requirements, the process of attempting to claim benefits can begin. There are 5 potential stages to the SSDI application process:
Initial Application Stage
The initial application for SSDI can be submitted by mail, online, over the phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. In this initial stage, your application is reviewed by the SSA with the help of a state Disability Determination Service (DDS). Once a decision is reached, a letter will be sent to you containing the results of your claim.
Due to the overwhelming volume of disability claims in recent years, the denial rate for applications in the initial stage is well over 60%. In addition, it is not uncommon for the SSA or DDS to make errors or lose information during their evaluation. If you believe that the decision of the SSA in the initial stage of application is incorrect, you may move forward into the Reconsideration Stage.
In the Reconsideration Phase, your disability claim will be reviewed by an SSA representative who was not involved in the initial decision. At this point, any or all parts of the previous decision may be overturned.
Denial rates for claims in Reconsideration approach 85%, however, so if you wish to pursue your claim further you will likely need to escalate the case to the Hearing Stage.
In the Hearing Stage, you will be required to go before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to answer questions and present further evidence to support your disability claim. At this point, it is advisable to get representation if you have not already done so, as you may be required to present medical evidence, produce and questions witnesses, and be prepared to answer questions from the Administrative Law Judge.
After the hearing, you will be sent a letter from the SSA containing a copy of the judge’s written decision.
If you disagree with the judge’s decision after your hearing, you can take you case before the SSA Appeals Council for review.
At this point, the Appeals Council can decline to hear your case, send the case back to an administration law judge for review, or hear and decide your case itself. You will be sent a copy of the Appeals Council’s decision or course of action.
Federal District Court
Should you disagree with the decision of the Appeals Council, the only remaining recourse is to file a lawsuit in Federal District Court.
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in all 50 states
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Social Security Disability claims include but are not limited to:
We represent adults and children nationwide, including Puerto Rico.