Understanding the Social Security Disability Application Process
In order to be successful with your Social Security disability claim, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how the application process works.
Many applicants wrongly assume that all that is involved is answering a few basic questions and relying on the Social Security Administration to build their case for them. While the SSA does investigate cases, they are not going to prove your case for you. That is your responsibility.
The SSA receives thousands of applications every year from individuals seeking disability benefits. It would be impossible for them to conduct a full and thorough investigation of every claim that comes across their desk. The high case volume also leads to many instances of human error and unjust denials of claims. A recent test of the Social Security Administration toll-free number showed that 25% of the responses given to questions involving the application process were simply wrong.
You can’t rely on the SSA to handle your case for you. You need a skilled Cleveland Social Security disability lawyer on your side that knows how to successfully handle your claim. Our experienced Cleveland Social Security disability lawyers have experience representing clients through all levels of the application process and have a proven track record of success.
Stages of Application Process
Initial Stage. This stage is completed when applicants fill out their initial application for Social Security disability benefits with the SSA. Applicants wait on average 120 days before receiving a decision. Of those who apply, 35% are successful.
Reconsideration. If your initial application for Social Security disability benefits is denied, you have the option of applying for reconsideration of your application. Those who apply for reconsideration wait on average 90 days for a decision. Statistically, only 15% of applicants are successful at this level.
Hearing. If you apply for reconsideration and your claim is still denied, you have the option of requesting a hearing. 55% of applicants who take their case to this level are successful. Waiting for a hearing is, however, a long process as it takes an average of 15 months for an applicant to actually have his or her case heard.
Appeals Council. If your case is denied at the hearing level, you have the option of having your case heard before the Appeals Council. It takes an average of 220 days for an applicant to have their case heard at this level. On average, only 2% of claims are successful at this level and 23% are sent back to the hearing level for further review.
Federal Court. If your appeal is denied by the Appeals Council, then you can take your case to federal court. Applicants have to wait an average of 540 days to have their day in court. The vast majority of cases that are heard in federal court are sent back to the hearing level for further review.
The Importance of Having a Cleveland Social Security Disability Attorney
As you can see, the disability appeals process can be complex. This is why it is absolutely vital to hire a skilled Cleveland Social Security disability attorney as early in the application process as possible. You want to get the benefits that you deserve as soon as possible. The more appeals that you have to go through, the longer you have to wait and the less likely that your results will be positive, especially if you are representing yourself.
Research shows that applicants who hire a skilled Social Security disability attorney almost double their chances of success. Our Cleveland Social Security disability lawyers have years of experience representing clients in Social Security disability claims and know how to win at every level of the application process.
If you are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits or if you have already applied, contact Kordic & Braun today at 1-800-621-0899 for a free, no-obligation initial consultation of your case. Our attorneys won’t get paid unless you win your case.