The Social Security Disability program is run by the federal government. It is the largest federal program that provides benefits to those with disabilities. The Social Security Administration (SSA) spearheads this program through their regional offices all over the country. Although Social Security is designed to be a type of insurance program that you pay into and then receive benefits if you need them, it’s notoriously difficult to get those benefits. You must meet stringent requirements and apply in just the right way to get the approved—even if you deserve it. Because the application process can be so tough, many people in Grayson use a Social Security Disability lawyer to assist with their application.
If you meet the government’s qualifications, you deserve to get the benefits. And you’ve likely paid thousands of dollars into the system over the years. Choosing not to apply or stopping the application process because you have been turned away means giving up a right you’ve already paid for. John Foy & Associates has helped hundreds of clients just like you get the benefits that they deserve—and we can help you, too. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How does the Social Security Disability (SSD) application process work?
Most SSD claims are processed through a local or regional field office first. Some state-run agencies, often-called Disability Determination Services (DDS), will help process application as well. There are several methods that you can use to apply, including:
- By phone
- Filing online
- By mail
- In person at a regional or local office
The local field office will verify necessary information, such as:
- Marital status
- Employment history
- Social Security coverage information
Then, the application will be sent elsewhere for more in-depth review regarding your medical conditions. As part of this review process, the DDS representatives will examine the medical information that you provide. If they don’t have enough information or they have additional questions, they will arrange for a consultative examination (CE) to get more information. They prefer to have this consultation with your treating doctor, but that is not always possible. In those cases, they can get an opinion from an independent source. They then make a decision regarding whether they will award benefits after gathering all of the information that they need.
What is the general appeal process to get SSD benefits?
If your application is denied, you have appeal rights. The denial rate for the first-round application is very high—up to 65% in some parts of the country, including Georgia. That means that the majority of applicants can expect to have to go through the appeal process. You will not head to your local courts for this appeal. Instead, you must follow an administrative process developed by SSA.
If your denial is based on medical evidence, which is the most common, you must fill out an Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report online. If you are denied for non-medical reasons, you should get in touch with your local Social Security office to discuss the reason for the denial. Your Grayson Social Security Disability attorney will be able to help you regardless of the reason you were denied.
Your disability appeal in the City of Grayson will generally follow the steps below. If you are denied at each level, you can move on to the next step in the appeal process.
- Request for Reconsideration. In this step, you’re requesting a complete review of your claim and application. A new person at the DDS will review your application and make a second determination.
- Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If your reconsideration request is declined, you can appeal further to request a hearing with an ALJ. You will go before a judge who specializes in Social Security Disability claims. The SSA has attorneys that will also be brought in to defend the denial of benefits at your ALJ hearing. The judge ends up granting benefits to about half of those who get to this level of appeal.
- Review with the Appeals Council. If the ALJ denies your claim, you can request a review from the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council has the discretion to review your case, which means that they can choose to uphold the denial without even looking at the facts of your situation.
- Federal Court Review. The last level of the appeals process is to put your case before a federal judge. The judge will examine the facts and legal conclusions in your case to make a determination of whether the denial of your application was appropriate.
The timeline in this process is very important. If you miss a deadline at any level in the appeal procedure, the person reviewing your case can throw out your case—without even considering the facts of your situation. It’s very important to work with an attorney to ensure that you don’t miss any of these deadlines.
What does the SSA consider “disabled”?
Generally speaking, the SSA defines disability as follows:
- You are unable to do the same type of work that you were doing before you became disabled;
- You cannot learn how to do other kinds of work because of your medical status or conditions; and
- Your disabling condition has already lasted one year or is expected to continue at least one year. (Or, it’s expected to be terminal.)
SSA is a long-term disability option. It has no benefits for those who are disabled for only a short time. If you have not already been disabled for a year, you’ll likely need an opinion from a doctor that states that you are expected to be unable to work for at least one year. If you are only disabled for a short time, you might be able to take advantage of other benefits, such as through your own insurance or through workers’ compensation.
Talk to a Grayson Social Security Disability Lawyer
Whether you are applying for the first time or you have previously been denied benefits, John Foy & Associates can help. We know what it takes to build a successful application, and we want to put that knowledge and experience to work for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.