What are the steps for applying for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Many people applying for Social Security benefits will be required to go through several steps to obtain Social Security Disability benefits. Disability Advocates Group represents clients at all stages of the process.
The first step to obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is the initial application. At this point, you will fill out several forms to begin the application process. Some individuals are approved at this level of the claims process. Most are not.
Most claimants are denied at the initial claim stage. If denied, most will be required to file a Request for Reconsideration. At this point, you will be required to complete additional forms. Social Security may also request that you attend an appointment with a consultative examiner so that he or she can determine if you are disabled per Social Security’s regulations. At this stage, the Social Security Administration usually reaffirms its original decision and denies the applicant Social Security Disability benefits.
After being denied at the Reconsideration stage, a claimant must file a Request for Hearing. This is a request to have your claim heard before an Administrative Law Judge (commonly referred to as an "ALJ"). During this hearing, an Administrative Law Judge will decide whether the claimant should be awarded Social Security Disability benefits. At Disability Advocates Group, we prepare and represent clients in their hearings before an Administrative Law Judge.
APPEAL TO THE APPEALS COUNCIL
If a claimant is not granted benefits after a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, there are still several steps of appeal available. The first level of appeal is to the Appeals Council. At this stage, the Appeals Council will request the claimant to submit legal arguments supporting their claim for Social Security benefits and demonstrating the reasons the Administrative Law Judge erred in denying the applicant’s benefits. The Appeals Council can affirm the Administrative Law Judge’s decision, send the case back to the Administrative Law Judge for further consideration or grant Social Security Disability benefits to the claimant.
If the Appeals Council decides to affirm the Administrative Law Judge’s decision, a claimant can appeal his or her claim to the Federal Court. Like the Appeals Council, the Federal Court also has the option to affirm the Administrative Law Judge’s decision, send the case back to the Administrative Law Judge for further consideration or grant Social Security Disability benefits to the claimant.
Since most claimants are denied at the initial stages of their application, consulting with a Social Security attorney early on in the process can often help claimants make a stronger case for benefits in the future.
If you need an attorney who is experienced in representing clients seeking SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE (SSDI) or SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) benefits, contact Disability Advocates Group today at (800) 935-3170, or online to schedule a free initial consultation.