Anyone who has applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits knows that it can be a time-consuming, stressful process. The majority of first-time applicants have their claims denied, which only exacerbates the feelings of frustration and worry about how you are going to pay your bills when you are unable to work.
An experienced lawyer can help you overcome some of the challenges of applying for SSDI benefits. However, it is important to recognize that waiting is simply an innate part of the process.
Here are some of the ways that a Jeffersonville Social Security attorney can help you with your SSDI claim:
The best way to reduce the time you have to wait for benefits (as well as reduce the likelihood that your claim will be denied) is to invest the time upfront in completing your application. You will be asked to provide extensive information about your medical condition, your work history, and any additional benefits you are receiving or plan to pursue. You will also likely have to provide documents such as your birth certificate, proof of U.S. citizenship, medical records, tax returns, and more.
Providing all of the required information and gathering all of the requested documents can be difficult. If you attempt to handle the application by yourself, you might overlook key details, which may delay the review of your claim or result in your claim being denied.
When you work with an experienced Social Security attorney, however, you will have qualified assistance in completing the application. Your lawyer can gather the necessary documents, communicate with your doctors, review the information, and help you complete the application so it accurately conveys the nature and extent of your disability.
You will receive notice by mail or electronically that your application has been received. By creating a my Social Security account, you can check the status of your application online.
According to the Social Security Administration, it generally “takes about 3 to 5 months to get a decision” on your SSDI benefits application. However, review of your application may take longer if the Social Security representative handling your claim requires further information to determine whether or not you qualify as disabled under the law.
The representative may ask you for additional medical records. You may also be asked to undergo a consultative examination, an independent medical exam where a physician evaluates you to determine the extent of your disability.
If Social Security representatives request additional information, your attorney can help you obtain the necessary records. A lawyer can also answer any questions you may have about the consultative examination and other matters while you are waiting for a decision on your Social Security Disability benefits.
As mentioned above, it can take several months or longer for your SSDI application to be reviewed. If your application is approved, “your first Social Security benefit will be paid for the sixth full month after the date … your disability began.”
If your application is denied, you have 60 days to appeal the decision. It is crucial to contact a Social Security attorney for assistance with your appeal. Your lawyer can advise you of your options for appeal, as well as how long you might have to wait for a decision to be made in your case.
Many claimants have to go through multiple levels of the appeal process before they can get the benefits they deserve (and some, unfortunately, do not prevail). The time it takes for your claim to move through one or more of these stages is often out of your hands.
The workloads and schedules vary for different Social Security examiners (in the case of reconsideration) and/or administrative law judges (in the case of a hearing). The state in which you live can also play a role in how long your appeal takes. Data from the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review show that claimants in Indiana wait an average of 10 months before a hearing with an administrative law judge.
If your case proceeds to the Social Security Appeals Council or you file a suit in federal court, you will be left waiting for a decision on your benefits until your case is heard. This can take well over a year.
Ultimately, from review of your application to appealing an unfavorable decision, it can take months or even years to get the SSDI benefits you deserve. An experienced lawyer can provide assistance with multiple aspects of the process, enabling you to focus on your health instead of getting bogged down in paperwork.
The Karl Truman Law Office has decades of experience assisting clients with Social Security Disability and other claims for disability benefits. We understand the frustrations faced by claimants, and we are committed to overcoming obstacles to secure each client’s financial future and provide peace of mind.
Please call (812) 282-8500 today for a free consultation. Our Jeffersonville Social Security attorneys serve clients throughout Indiana and in nearby Kentucky.