Social Security Disability benefits are a vital resource, yet most applicants are initially rejected. So, what does this mean? Should you just give up? Absolutely not! An initial denial is not the end of the road, it is the beginning of the process.
An application for Social Security Disability benefits should start with a conversation with an experienced attorney. They will be able to explain the filing process to you and gather any necessary documents/medical records that will be needed in filing your claim.
Applications should be started immediately after becoming disabled. You can apply either online or by scheduling an appointment with a Florida Social Security Administration representative. The claims representative assigned to you serves several functions. They answer any questions you may have, and also handle the paperwork needed to send to Disability Determination Services. The DDS makes the initial determination as to whether you meet the SSA’s requirements for being disabled, as well as the actual amount of benefits you could receive.
The first application can take up to six months. The examiner will comb through your relevant medical records and may also inquire as to your current condition. It is not uncommon at this stage to be asked to undertake a consultative medical examination or a questionnaire.
A second request for reconsideration will return your application to the examiner for a period of up to five months. The examiner will order any medical records and physician’s reports not included in the initial stage. Most requests for a second reconsideration are denied, and unfortunately, many people give up there. However, there is still hope.
At this stage, it is time to bring a legal expert into the fray, if you have not done so already. The third request for benefits is a hearing before an administrative law judge, which could take up to a year to happen. Your attorney will assemble a copy of your file and other medical records that have not been received by the Social Security Administration previously.
At this level, most claims are approved, but if not, there are additional appeal levels that can be taken.
If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability, or have been denied in the past, contact The Orlando Law Group at 407.512.4394 for a consultation.