It can take anywhere from 4-6 months to have your case finalized. If there are simple errors in your application, such as forgetting to write down your name, the application can taken longer or come to a complete stop.
If you are disabled or you know you will be disabled for at least a year it is best to start the application process as soon as possible.
Most people are denied at the initial and reconsideration levels.
To apply online go to: www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/ or call us and we can get started working for you.
When you apply:
Initial and reconsideration applications are determined by the Disability Determination Services. They first, gather information from doctors, hospital and clinics and then may ask you to undergo an examination by their doctor, at their expense. If you do not attend this appointment DDS will assume you are hiding something. These examinations are typically not invasive tests.
After these initial development steps, the DDS will make the disability determination. At this time one of three decisions could occur: denial, approval, or request for more information regarding your case.
The examiner will make their decision and then pass it to the Social Security field office for appropriate action. Most cases are denied at the initial and reconsideration levels and it usually takes up to 4 to 6 months for a decision.
If you are denied:
The Social Security Act provides the claimant who has a reconsideration denial the opportunity to an administrative hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This is the most important event in your social security disability case. The hearing level is where most claimants are awarded benefits. The hearing is where the claimant will for the first time meet the person face-to-face who has the power to grant or deny benefits. However, this may take several months.
The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
Your work experience and your education are discussed during the hearing, along with your statements about your daily life, your medical history, and your physical and mental abilities. Sometimes, the ALJ will request a Vocational Expert or Medical Adviser to testify. Some ALJs will ask questions, and some will let me ask all the questions. Our office will prepare you for the hearing, and there will be no surprises.
The ALJ will hear all the evidence and make a decision based on your medical records and testimony heard at the hearing. Most ALJs will not announce his or her decision at the hearing, but we will have a very good idea and will be able to discuss our impressions after the hearing,
The ALJ will issue a written decision. It usually takes between 6 and 12 weeks for the decision to be issued.