Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Social Security Application Process

If you are injured, and have been unable to work for a year or longer or are expected to be unable to do so, you may be entitled to receive social security benefits.  

The social security application process can be long, often taking over two years.  The first step is to file an application.  This can be done online or at your local social security office.  Many people are denied.  This can be discouraging, but should not stop you from appealing your denial.  Similar to your application, you can appeal your denial online or at your local social security office.  This first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration.  That is, you are asking the Social Security Administration to reconsider your claim.  Unfortunately, many people are denied at this level as well.  If you are denied a second time, and it is not uncommon to be denied twice, you should appeal a second time.  Again, this appeal can be done online or at a social security office.  This appeal is called a Request for Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge.  By filing this appeal, you are requesting that a social security judge review your claim.  This gives you the opportunity to present your case, in person, to an Administrative Law Judge.  However, the time between filing this second appeal and the hearing is extensive, often over a year.  During this waiting period, you should see your healthcare professionals as needed, and submit your medical records to the Social Security Administration to prepare for your hearing.  While this hearing is your best opportunity to obtain social security benefits, if you are denied, there are further appeals you can pursue.  

How can an attorney help you with regard to your social security claim?  First, they can help you determine if you meet the requirements for applying for either social security disability program, social security disability insurance (SSDI), or supplemental security income (SSI).  These programs have different eligibility requirements, and an attorney can help you determine which program, if either, you should apply for.  Second, an attorney can look at your denial and pinpoint the reasons for that denial.  Once the reasons for the denial are understood, an action plan can be developed to best target those reasons.  Third, an attorney can prepare you for, and represent you at, your hearing.  An attorney can write a brief to prepare the judge for your hearing, highlighting your best arguments.  He or she will be able to effectively cross examine the vocational and medical experts that may be present at your hearing.  Most importantly, an attorney will be able to make sure that your hearing gives you the best possible opportunity to tell the judge your story.  For all of these reasons, hiring at attorney to assist you in your social security disability claim gives you the best chance of success in your claim.  

If you have questions or are interested in starting the social security application process, please contact attorney Andrew Doriott at (916) 491-4224.