Having a disability makes it difficult to work and even more challenging to maintain financial independence. By utilizing America’s safety net, Social Security, you may be able to receive monthly cash benefits during your time of need.
However, when applying for benefits, it is important to keep in mind that there are many cases in which claims are initially rejected. Do not be discouraged. Talk to a social security lawyer at Deputy & Mizell, L.L.C. before and after submitting your claim.
We offer free consultations to people with disabilities in Jefferson City, Springfield, Columbia, Rolla, Lebanon, Camdenton, and all around Missouri.
The Social Security Disability Process
We always tell our clients that the disability process is a marathon, not a sprint. Do not get discouraged– just understand that it may take a long time if you are initially denied. However, if and when you eventually win, you will receive past-due benefits that will make up for the months you waited to receive disability benefits.
Read on to learn more about the process of applying for disability as well as the subsequent steps to take if your claim is denied.
Step 1. File an initial application
Once you apply, it typically takes 90 to 120 days for the Social Security Administration to review your claim and either approve or deny your application. It is important to remember that approximately only 30 percent of Social Security disability applications are approved at this stage. If you are approved, you will begin receiving disability benefits.
Step 2. If denied, request for reconsideration
If your initial claim is denied, you have 60 days to file a Request for Reconsideration in which the Social Security Administration will review your application again. This process takes approximately three to six months.
Step 3. If still denied, request a hearing level
If your Request for Reconsideration is denied again, you must then appeal and request a disability hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. This stage of the appeals process can last a year or more. Oftentimes claimants will have to wait approximately two years before they have their hearing. After the hearing, you will either receive a favorable decision, a partially favorable decision, or an unfavorable decision within six months
Step 4. If you don’t agree with the decision, bring it to the Appeals Council
If you do not agree with the Administrative Law Judge’s decision at the hearing level, you have the right to the appeal that decision with the Appeals Council. The review by the Appeals Council usually takes between six months to one year until completion. It is important to remember fewer than five percent of Social Security Disability cases are won at this stage of the appeals process.
Step 5. If denied by the Appeals Council, appeal to the Federal District Court
If your claim is denied by the Appeals Council, you may appeal your case to the Federal District Court. The Federal District Court may approve or deny your claim for Social Security Disability benefits or they may send your case back to Social Security Administration for further review.
Make the social security process easier by hiring a social security attorney at Deputy & Mizell, L.L.C. We will make sure that you are prepared for everything. Even though the appeals process may take over a year, we regularly speak with our clients and update medical records, medical source statements, third party function reports and other documents that will help you receive benefits. Furthermore, before your hearing, we have an in-depth meeting where we ask you most of the questions you will be asked at the final disability hearing. You will feel comfortable every step of the way with us.
Contact us! We are happy to service Jefferson City, Springfield, Columbia, Rolla, Lebanon, Camdenton, and many other regions of Missouri.
Common Questions About Social Security Disability
When applying for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration, people often have questions about how the process works. The Deputy & Mizell team is here to answer your most common questions and to help you win your social security disability claim as quickly as possible. Contact us for assistance or to request a free consultation.
When is a person considered disabled by Social Security Disability?
To be considered disabled by the SSA, a person must have an impairment that meets the definition of disability. This can be either medical, psychological, or psychiatric in nature.
Is there anything I should know before applying for Social Security Disability?
It is extremely important to be prepared before applying for disability. A lot disability claims are denied because the claimant did not fill out the application completely or accurately. Social security adjudicators and Administrative Law Judges give substantial weight to medical records. So before you apply, it is crucial to make a list of all the names and addresses of the medical providers and doctors you have sought treatment from for your disability. Also, make a list of all the prescription medications you take and every place you worked in the last 15 years prior to applying for disability.
To be eligible for social security disability benefits you must have been unable to work a full-time job for 12 months because of a disabling medical condition or you must be expected to be unable to work for 12 months. If possible it is my recommendation to wait 12 months after your disability prevented you from working to apply for disability benefits because you are much more likely to win.
What is the difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and SSI?
Claimants are often confused between the difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While both SSI and SSDI disability programs offer cash benefits for disabled individuals, the financial eligibility requirements are very different.
- Social Security Disability is available to individuals who accumulated enough work credits. Generally speaking, you need 40 work credits with 20 of those credits earned in the last 10 years and ending with the year you became disabled. If you have worked 5 out of the last 10 years, you likely have enough work credits to qualify for disability benefits, however, there are exceptions.
- Supplemental Security Income is a strictly need-based program and is available to disabled individuals who have never worked, who are making under the income limit for SSI, or have not earned enough work credits.
Who Determines Whether I’m Disabled?
Claims examiners at the state disability determination agency decide whether you are medically eligible for Social Security disability or SSI.
When Should I Apply for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Social Security disability cases can take a long time to complete. It’s wise to apply as early as possible to get benefits faster.
Does my age play a role in the Social Security Administration’s decision of my claim?
Generally speaking, the rules of SSDI and SSI are more favorable to claimants who are 50 and older. This is because individuals in this age group have more limited opportunities to find work due to their health and mental conditions, their inability to perform past relevant work, and the reality that employers are not as likely to hire older workers because of the perception they are more difficult to train.
How do I apply for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
There are several ways to apply for Social Security Disability benefits or SSI benefits based on disability. You can apply online by going to the Social Security Administration’s website at www.ssa.gov. Claimants can apply by telephone by calling 1-800-722-1213 and you can also go to your region’s social security office and state that you wish to file an application.
How Long Will It Take to Get a Decision for Social Security Disability?
In many parts of the country, the Social Security initial application and appeals process has gotten longer due to a steep rise in disability claims.
What Is Disability Determination Services?
Each state has an agency that decides disability claims for Social Security.
What Kind of Evidence Is Used to Evaluate and Decide My Disability Benefit Claim?
For a Social Security disability case, medical evidence takes many forms, including physician treatment notes, mental health records, bloodwork panels, and imaging results.
Can Anyone Help Me Financially While I Wait for a Decision on My Disability Case?
There are few sources of assistance for those seeking Social Security Disability benefits.
Can Certain Medical Conditions Get You Approved for Disability Automatically?
There are conditions for which disability is automatically approved if you fulfill the listed requirements.
How much will I receive in disability benefits?
In 2017, the average Social Security disability benefit (SSDI) was $1,171.00 per month. The maximum disability benefit a beneficiary can receive is $2,687. The amount you receive in disability benefits is based on how much you paid in Social Security taxes.
If you have a favorable decision in your Supplemental Security Income case, your maximum benefit is approximately $735.00 per month. However, the Social Security Administration will likely deduct a certain percentage of your benefits if you are living in another person’s household or have assets of value.
What Does a Social Security Claims Representative Do on a Disability Claim?
The field rep checks your basic non-medical eligibility and forwards your case to DDS.
If I Can Work Part Time But Not Full Time, Can I Get Disability Benefits?
In some cases, if your last job was part time, you’ll be denied disability if you can’t work full time but you can work part time.
Can I Get Disability Benefits After a Car Accident?
A car accident disability is something you can get Social Security or SSI benefits for if it lasts over a year.
If I am applying for social security, should I seek medical treatment?
Regardless of whether you are considering applying for disability benefits or your case is pending, it is critical to seek as much medical treatment for your disability as you can. The Social Security Administration gives substantial weight to medical records and any medical treatments you have had for your disability because it is considered objective evidence that accurately describes your disability. If you cannot afford health insurance, we would recommend applying for Medicaid.
If My Social Security Disability or SSI Claim Gets Denied, What Do I Do?
If you are denied on your Social Security Disability or SSI benefit claim, you should request an appeal immediately, within the 60-day deadline.
How Long Does a Social Security Disability or SSI Appeal Take?
It depends on the type of claim, the condition of your medical records, and the workload of your claims examiner.
Will I Have to File More than one Social Security Disability Appeal?
Generally, the rule is this: If you are denied on your initial claim for disability benefits, you will probably be denied on your first appeal as well.
If I am totally and Permanently Disabled, Why Can’t I Get Social Security Disability?
Being found totally and permanently disabled by workers’ comp doesn’t necessarily translate to disability for Social Security or SSI.
What are Back Payments?
Back Payments are payments the social security administration should have been paying you while you were going through your appeal. Back payments are calculated differently based on the type of claim you file.
- For Social Security Disability claims, the back payments begin at the alleged onset date. The alleged onset date is the date you believe your disability or combined disabilities prevented you from working.
- For Supplemental Security Income claims, the back payments will typically begin at the date you applied for Supplemental Security Income.
Claimants need to keep in mind that the Social Security Administration or the Administrative Law Judge may disagree with your alleged onset date and change it. We have had several cases where Administrative Law Judges changed the alleged onset date because the Judge did not believe there was enough objective medical evidence to support the alleged onset date, or the Judge believes the claimant was capable of working still after the alleged onset date.
What is the Disability Hearing like?
Claimants are often nervous before the disability hearing simply because they do not know what to expect. When you appeal your case, you can request an in-person hearing or a Virtual Teleconference Hearing.
- If you choose a Virtual Teleconference Hearing, your hearing could be at a local Social Security Administration Office. In this part of the state, these types of hearings take place at the Social Security Administration offices in Jefferson City, Lebanon, and Sedalia
- If you choose an in-person hearing, it will be held at an Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR). In this part of the state, in-person hearings are held at the ODAR location in Springfield and Columbia.
If you have an in-person hearing, it will take place in a courtroom that is much smaller than a courtroom you would see at a county courthouse. There will be an administrative law judge, a court reporter, and a vocational expert in the courtroom. The court reporter will swear you and the vocational expert in, and the hearing will begin. The administrative law judge will have already reviewed your file with all of your medical records and will ask you questions about your past work, your physical and mental limitations, your daily activities, and your social life.
After you are done testifying, the administrative law judge will then ask the vocational expert hypothetical questions about what jobs a person with your disabilities could perform. You will then have a chance to cross-examine or ask the vocational expert follow-up questions.
The Administrative Law Judge will not make a ruling at the end of the hearing. It typically takes three to six months to receive the final decision.
How do I pay for a social security lawyer?
We have had countless clients tell us they were hesitant to get a disability attorney because they could not afford one. Our fee is completely contingent on winning your case, which means we do not get paid unless you win. If you hire us, we will have you sign a fee agreement which allows us to collect 25% of the past due benefits you are awarded, up to a maximum of $6,000.
Contact Deputy & Mizell, L.L.C.
At Deputy & Mizell, L.L.C., we take great pride in giving you personalized attention. We understand how challenging it is to live with disabilities that prevent you from working, and we have the experience it takes to get the disability benefits that you deserve.
We regularly represent claimants throughout Kansas City and St. Louis. This includes serving disabled individuals in Jefferson City, Springfield, Columbia, Rolla, Lebanon, Camdenton, and throughout Missouri. Contact us now for a free consultation!
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