According to recent data from the Social Security Disability Administration (SSA), over 10 million people in the United States receive disability benefits. But for every 20 people who apply for Social Security benefits, 13 are denied. Per the same report, payments were also terminated for 13% of individuals already receiving Social Security disability.
Whether you’re applying for Social Security disability (SSD) for the first time, or are re-applying after a denial, the following guidelines can help you decide when and how to file for Social Security.
Social Security Disability Questions and Answers:
How Long Does it Take to Apply for Social Security Disability?
Although there is no average time frame for a Social Security disability application, most claims are processed within 90 days. Certain claims, including those for terminal disabilities, are expedited. Claims that qualify for the streamlined application process known as TERI move through the application and approval process much quicker, and may be approved in as little as 30 days.
How can I speed up the application process?
Most claims take between three and five months to move through the application process. To speed up the process, provide medical records and documentation to the Social Security disability office as quickly as possible. Stay on top of any correspondence from the SSA requesting additional information. Follow-up with your doctor and other treatment providers to make sure they’ve responded to record requests. Keep all scheduled medical and therapeutic appointments while you wait for your application to be processed. If possible, fill out your claim online rather than sending it in through the mail.
Those suffering from terminal disabilities may have their claims expedited through the TERI process. Because each level of the Social Security disability application process depends on a combination of variables, there is no way to know exactly how long it will take for your claim to move through the system, or whether your initial application will be approved.
How many first-time Social Security disability applications are denied?
Initial applications are denied in 65% of cases. Applications are denied for many reasons, but some of the most common reasons are:
Your impairment is not severe or long enough
Your income is too high
You haven’t worked long enough (based on your age, the number of years you’ve worked, and how long you’ve been impaired)
You do not complete therapy prescribed by your doctor
Your disability is the result of alcoholism or drug addiction
You have been convicted of a felony, were injured while committing a felony, or were injured in prison
You didn’t answer questions honestly
You didn’t communicate with the Social Security office
You didn’t cooperate during the application process
How can I reduce the chances that my application will be denied?
To increase your odds of being approved the first time you apply, hire Whiting Law to ensure the correct filing of your application, including all documentation as requested by the SSA. Don’t give the SSA office clear reasons to deny your claim. Answer all application questions honestly. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms or make false claims regarding your income. Follow your doctor’s orders to the letter, making and keeping any appointments for any therapy as prescribed by your treatment team.
Can I re-apply if my first application is denied?
If your initial application is denied, don’t give up hope. Most individuals (65 out of 100) are denied the first time they apply, but you can file an appeal. Applying for an appeal to your original claim is also known as a request for reconsideration.
How long does the re-application process take?
If your first application is denied, your case is referred to an administrative law judge. Depending on how many re-applications are in the system, an appeals case can take anywhere from five months to several years to resolve.
Can I expedite the appeals process?
Just as with your initial application, you can expedite the appeals process by:
Providing the best contact information to the SSA
Gathering documentation, such as a list of your medications, changes in your condition and statements regarding your ability to work
Responding to requests for additional information quickly
Tracking the status of your appeal
Following up with doctors and other medical providers to make sure they’ve answered questions and provided your records in a timely fashion
Submitting documentation requests online rather than through the postal service
Do I need my own attorney to file an appeal?
Although you are not required to have an attorney when you file an appeal, being represented by a qualified attorney who specializes in Social Security disability law increases the odds your appeal will succeed. Social Security experts can help you fill out your appeal correctly and argue the case before a judge on your behalf.
If you would like to file a Social Security disability claim but aren’t sure how to make the best case, the personal injury attorneys at Whiting Law can help. We can also help if your claim has been denied and you need help filing an appeal. If you have questions, call us. You can count on our expert legal team to guide you through the process, and you won’t be charged unless we win. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation where we’ll answer your questions about your Social Security disability application and give you honest, upfront advice.