Social Security Disability benefits are a wonderful resource available to Americans who have suffered an injury or illness that keeps them from working and living their lives in an independent way. Applying for these benefits, however, is not always as easy as many expect it to be. Many cases, in fact, can be long, involved, and mentally taxing when trying to prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you should receive the benefits you deserve.
The Five Stages of Applying
The SSA has established a number of different avenues for applicants to appeal their cases and convince the organization they deserve disability benefits. Many of these are lengthy and require skilled counsel, but have also been known to help some applicants win their claims.
The five possible stages of applying for disability benefits include:
- Applicants fill out SSA paperwork and submit all relevant medical records for benefit consideration. This is called the initial application.
- If the initial application is denied, the applicant has 60 days to file a reconsideration appeal. The applicant has the opportunity to update and revise their claim at this stage.
- When a reconsideration is also denied, the applicant has 60 days to file for a hearing. This can take a year to schedule, but the applicant can then present their claim to a judge.
- If the applicant believes the judge mishandled the hearing, they can file for an appeals council review of the decision. This stage seldom overturns the judge's ruling, however.
- The final appeal an applicant can make is in federal court. There, the applicant and an representative can present their case for a final ruling outside of the SSA.
When do I need a representative?
While the final appeal in federal court is the only stage that legally requires a representative, it's advised that any applicant seeking an appeal—even in the reconsideration phase—seeks the advice of an experienced Reno Social Security Disability representative. With proper guidance, an applicant will know what kind of time frames to expect, what paperwork to file, and—most importantly—how adjust and improve their case at each opportunity along the way.
Many of these stages are tedious and time consuming. It can also take months for the SSA to render even the earliest and simplest of decisions. To avoid a misfiling, set-backs, or even having to start the appeals process all over again, get in touch with one of our representatives at Disability Action Advocates. We've built our reputation on fighting for the rights of our clients, even when I feels like no one is willing to listen to them.
If you or a loved one is facing the appeals process of a Social Security Disability application, contact us at Disability Action Advocates today. We're ready to hear your story.