If you have become disabled and no longer able to work,|
you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits!
If you have become disabled and have not filed, you need to file immediately.
You need to file to establish a "Protective Filing Date' for your disability.
If your problem is cured or resolved later, it will cost you nothing and you can always cancel your disability claim. However, if it does not disappear or it becomes even worse, you will have saved a lot of time by having your disability claim in place.
Call 1(800)772-1213 to set up an appointment to meet with Social Security.
Nothing can be done unless you have an active Social Security Disability claim and I would suggest an in-office interview rather than a phone interview or filing on-line. If you try to file on-line thru the Social Security website, it is extremely complicated to fill out and you will still have to print out the information and take it with you to your Social Security interview.
You can find your nearest Social Security Office by clicking HERE!!!
1. The initial claim: If you are denied at the Initial level, do not be discouraged. This does not mean that you do not have a good claim. Almost 65% of all initial claims nationwide for the last ten years have been denied. It takes approximately 80 to 120 days or more for a decision to be made. If you are denied benefits, you have only 60 days to file an appeal for Reconsideration. This is a good time to consider appointing a Representative for your claim.
2. The Reconsideration: It takes approximately 60 to 120 days for Social Security to reconsider your claim, however, almost 85% of all reconsiderations are denied. Again, if you are denied, you have only 60 days to file for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.
3. The Hearing: It can take anywhere from twenty months to over two years to get a hearing date and a decision, depending on the Hearings Office. You should NOT attempt to do your Hearing without a Disability Representative. If you are denied at the hearing level, you again have only 60 days to file an appeal to the Appeals Council.
4. The Appeals Council: It can take up to a year for the Appeals Council to decide whether to ‘remand’ your case back for a new hearing or to deny your claim. Only about 5% of all appeals are remanded back. If it is ‘remanded’ back, the hearing process begins all over again. If you are denied by the Appeals Council, you have only 60 days to file a ‘Civil Case’ against Social Security.
5. The Civil Case: It can take up to two to three years for a decision to be made. The decision could be to overturn the decision and you could be awarded benefits. The decision could also be to ’Remand’ the claim back to the hearing level and start again, or the decision could be denied which would be a final decision. This is why it is important to win at the 'Hearings Level' the first time.
This obscure opportunity can save you both time and money.
There is a little known and seldom used procedure for the 54 to 61 age group, which can significantly reduce the time it takes to receive a favorable decision. If you have been denied and meet the required criteria, you may be able to get your disability benefits approved quickly, without having to go to a 'Hearing'. Unfortunately, most representatives do not pursue these options, either because they are not aware of this process or because an early favorable decision may greatly reduce their fees.
How long, on the average, does it take for this process?
The procedure requires totally evaluating a claim and if it meets the criteria, sending a request for review and decision to ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review). If ODAR does decide to grant a quick favorable decision, it normally takes only two to four months for a decision as opposed to two years or more for a hearing.
What if ODAR does not grant you a favorable decision?
If for some reason, a decision is not granted, it will have no effect on your claim or hearing schedule, however, if ODAR does grant a decision though this process, it will be 'favorable' and you will be granted benefits immediately.
This evaluation would help determine if you would be eligible for a quick favorable decision from ODAR.
It will also try to identify possible problems and possible things you may need to address.
1. You cannot be working.
Social Security feels that if you are working, then you are not 'Disabled' unless perhaps your wages amount to less than SGA or if you are working part time.
2. You need to be receiving medical treatment.
Medical records are the basis for all Social Security disability decisions. With no medical information, Social Security has no way to determine if you are actually disabled. Lack of medical evidence can result in a NOT DISABLED decision.
3. You need to be treated by actual doctor's.
Social Security does not consider personel such as Chiropractors, CRN's etc. as sources of valid medical evidence. You need to be getting treatment by an actual licenced doctor, or persons under the authority of a licenced doctors whether for mental or medical conditions.
4. You need a doctor that believes you are unable to work.
Some doctors do not believe in Social Security or they feel that they have cured you to the point you can work. This opinion on your work ability is often displayed in your medical records. You need to ask your doctor how they feel about these things.
5. You need to be factual and complete with your Doctors.
If you are not being factual and complete, or are telling the doctors what you think they want to hear, your medical records may not show that you have a problem. Let your doctor know everything that is bothering you and how it affects your life.
6. Don't tell your doctors unnecessary information.
Doctors normally put everything you say in their reports. Some of the information that often ends up in doctors reports can seriously affect your claim, such as drinking, use of illegal substances, physical activities, etc. even if it is minor. Social Security will use these type of activities in denying your claim.
7. Make sure that Social Security is notified of all new medical evidence.
Notify Social Security each time you go to a doctor, clinic or hospital. Your medical records, especially at the 'Initial' and 'Reconsideration' levels, are the only basis for Social Security disability decisions.
8. Stay on your prescribed Medications.
Social Security will look at this as non-compliance unless there valid reasons for not using them, such as being allergic to them or excessive side-effects. If you are having problems with a medication, you need to let your doctor know so it will be in your medical records.
When should you consider appointing a disability 'Representative'?
When you apply for an 'Initial' disability claim, it normally takes about 90 to 120 days to get a decision. Unfortunately, there is little that a representative can do to speed up or improve the results at this level. If you are denied, you have 60 days to file for a 'Reconsideration' and you should seriously consider appointing a representative at this time. If you are denied at both the ‘Initial’ and 'Reconsideration', your next step is the ‘Hearing’ level.
Why should you appoint a ‘Representative‘ for your claim?
A representative will greatly improve your chances of a favorable decision. An experienced representative would know the Social Security rules and regulations, plus the ‘Medical Listings of Impairments’ and the ‘Medical Vocational Guidelines‘. The representative can prepare the ‘Theory of the Case’ and present an argument for your disability to the Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing, the representative will also be prepared to cross-examine the Medical Expert and the Vocational Expert to make sure that your claim is accurately presented.
How much will a 'Representative' cost?
Social Security sets the rules on what ALL representatives can charge and that is: 25% of the 'retro-active' benefits that they are able to get for you, up to a maximum fee of $6,000 whichever is less. There are NO FEES ever paid on any of your monthly benefits following the ‘Disabled’ decision date and there are NO FEES at all if the decision is unfavorable.
How can I be sure who is an experienced representative?
You should make sure that they are a member of NOSSCR (National Organization of Social Security Representatives) and that they have had several years of specializing in Social Security Disability representation. If they do not specialize in Social Security Disability or if the company is a large nation-wide company, you may not get the personalized service required for your claim.
Is it worth going to the ’Hearing’ level?
Yes it is!! When you are awarded benefits, it includes your 'monthly benefits', which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, plus it includes your Medicare/Medicaid benefits which can also amount to quite a considerable sum. It also includes your 'retro-active' benefits, which is the back benefits from the onset date of your disability to the date of the favorable decision.
Social Security rulings are not taught in Law School.
Social Security does not require representatives to have law degrees or be a member of the Bar and do not give attorneys any special legal status. Attorneys must learn the Social Security rullings the same way that Non-attorneys learn. Attorneys, often, also have a law practice with many other legal interests. Non-attorney Representatives concentrate solely on Social Security.