There are three things you should keep in mind if you’re considering an application for Social Security disability benefits. It’s not an easy or quick process, and it’s best to take a moment to consider what it’s going to be like when you file for benefits.
Getting Disability Benefits Is a Long, Slow Process.
It can take months, up to half a year or more, waiting for an answer on your application. For many people, the first decision will be a denial. You have the opportunity to appeal this denial, but each new stage of the appeals process can add on many more months. To get to a hearing with an administrative law judge can take two years, or even longer in some cases. Unfortunately, there is very little to do to speed up the process. You might receive some correspondence from Social Security requiring a quick response, but you can’t make anyone at Social Security move any faster. The expression “hurry up and wait” certainly applies for the typical applicant.
Getting Denied Is Often Part of the Process
This fits in closely with the previous point. A denial does not mean that you can never be found to meet Social Security’s requirements to receive disability benefits. In fact, most people have their applications and first appeal denied. It’s important not to give up and become disheartened. If you believe you can no longer work, you should make every effort to continue your appeals within Social Security’s deadlines. Claimants often have the best chance of success at a hearing before an administrative law judge. You have to hang in there!
Social Security Uses Its Own Stringent Definition of Disability
One of many reasons why it’s so hard to be approved for disability benefits is that Social Security has a very stringent definition of disability. For people under the age of 50, you have to demonstrate that your physical or mental health impairments prevent you from engaging in what Social Security calls “substantial gainful activity” for at least a year—or that they’ll result in death. This is clearly a very different standard of disability than what most people think of when they use the term in everyday conversation, or even as compared to other laws and regulations that deal with “disability.”
Let Our Social Security Attorneys Guide You Through This Process
These three points, among many others, are why it’s often very helpful to have representation from the start of a Social Security disability claim. Representatives can help you file your application and needed appeals, can track the status of the case and share relevant information with you and with Social Security, can ensure that deadlines are being met in a timely fashion, can help you develop your case to best demonstrate how you meet Social Security’s very high standard of disability, and can represent you at a hearing before an administrative law judge to make sure that the judge is taking into account those factors that best help your claim. Even with the assistance of a representative, navigating the process is unfortunately often a long, slow, and frustrating experience. Our Social Security attorneys are dedicated to defending the rights of people just like you, and making sure that you get the benefits that you're entitled to. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.