Applying for Social Security
Applying for Social Security benefits can be a long and difficult process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a large agency and receives a vast number of applications each year. Though the SSA has procedures in place to help them effectively manage the case load and make fair determinations for each applicant, it is easy for some to fall through the cracks. A recent test of the Social Security Administration’s nationwide toll-free telephone number showed that 25% of the answers given in response to questions involving SSI were simply wrong.
In order to successfully apply for Social Security benefits, it is important to have a basic understanding of how the application process works.
- Application level. Initial applicants for Social Security disability will wait on average 120 days to receive an answer. 35% of those applicants will be approved for social security. 52% of those whose initial application was rejected will abandon their claims while 48% will choose to appeal.
- Reconsideration level. If your initial application for social security disability is denied, you have the option of applying for reconsideration of your application. Of those claimants who timely filed their appeals (a timely claim is filed within 60 days of receipt of a decision) most will have to wait 90 days for a decision. Only 15% of those who appeal will receive a positive response. Of those whose initial appeal is not approved, 30% will give up and 70% will appeal.
- Hearing level. If your application is still denied after reconsideration, you can request a hearing of your case. On average nationwide, claimants will wait on average 15 and a half months for a hearing and decision regarding their case. However, of those who take their case to the hearing level an overwhelming majority, 55%, will be awarded social security benefits. Of those who are denied, 55% will quit and 45% will appeal.
- Appeals Council. If your case is denied at the hearing level, you have the option of having your case heard by an appeals council. On average, those choosing to have their case reviewed by an appeals council end up having to wait another 220 days for their case to be considered. Of those seeking to have their case reviewed by the appeals council, only 2% are rewarded with benefits with about 23% having their claims sent back to the hearing level. Of those whose appeal was denied, very few will appeal to federal court.
- Federal court. Claimants choosing to take their case to the federal level will have to wait on average another 540 days for a federal court decision. The federal court will only award benefits to a small number of claimants as the vast majority of cases are sent back to the hearing level for a reconsideration of benefits.
Why You Need An Attorney
As the statistics above show, applying for Social Security disability benefits can be an extremely difficult and long process. However, retaining a knowledgeable Social Security disability attorney in Plymouth County early in the application process can increase your chances of receiving a successful determination much earlier in the process than those who choose to go through the process alone. Patience and perseverance are needed during the application process. Most claimants do not receive the benefits they deserve because they simply give up too soon.
While the statistics of those being denied social security benefits may be alarming, it is important to understand that it is possible to successfully apply for Social Security benefits. Even if you have been denied benefits in the past, you may still have a chance of successfully appealing your previous decision. Your chances of successfully applying for or winning your appeal will increase substantially if you retain a knowledgeable and skilled social security disability attorney to help you navigate your way through the process.
If you decide to appeal your disability claim in Massachusetts, you should have a devoted Plymouth County Social Security disability attorney on your side. Winning your claim will provide you with not only money, but also independence, validation, and peace of mind.
What You Need to Bring When You Meet with Your Attorney
For your initial meeting, you will need to bring the following:
- Your denial letters and all paperwork you have from your case and the Social Security Administration.
- A list of any doctors you have seen. This list should include each doctor’s address and phone number.
- Any medical records you may have.
- All prescriptions you are currently taking.
Contact an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney
It is essential that those applying for Social Security benefits have someone handling their case who knows and understands the system so that they can get the benefits that they deserve. Attorney Stephen Ladas, a Plymouth County disability attorney, has years of experience representing Social Security claimants applying for supplemental security income (SSI) benefits, as well as Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, and has represented such clients during all levels of the application process. Years of experience have helped Ladas gain an understanding of the way the system works and has provided him with the knowledge and skills needed to help you fight for the rights you deserve. Don’t go through the Social Security application process alone. Allow the Ladas Law Firm to help you today.
The Ladas Law Firm is uniquely prepared to represent you in your initial application and at any stage in the process. Call us before you apply for SSD or SSI, or if your application has been denied. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your application or appeal of a Social Security disability denial, please call our office at the number below. We also provide representation for workers’ compensation and injury/auto accident claims.