Steps To Obtain Your Social Security Disability Benefits
Filing for and receiving Social Security Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be a lengthy and frustrating process. At Lawrence, Smith and Gardner, we find it helpful to describe the different steps of the process to our clients so they feel more comfortable and have ample opportunity to ask questions.
Overall, the Social Security Disability process follows three general stages:
- Initial application: Individuals have the opportunity to submit a paper application or file an application online. Typically, an online application will get a quicker decision, but the process as a whole takes between three to five months.
- Reconsideration: Unfortunately, most initial applications are denied. People can file for reconsideration within 60 days of the initial denial to have their case examined again. This step in the process usually takes between two to three months. Again, most individuals can file for reconsideration online. If your request for reconsideration is denied, you have 60 days to file for a hearing.
- File for hearing: Individuals who have had their request for reconsideration denied can file for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Unfortunately, it takes approximately one year for a hearing to be scheduled. At the hearing, we can present the ALJ with medical records and oral testimony.
Generally, an attorney is most useful after your initial application has been denied. If you have filed for benefits and reconsideration on your own and have been denied, it is wise to schedule a consultation with an experienced Virginia attorney. We can examine your paperwork and provide advice regarding your best course of action and what can be done to strengthen your case.
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Our SSDI lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. If we do not recover your benefits, you do not pay any fees.