The Disability Claims Process: Working Through The SSDI And SSI Maze
The process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is complicated. The amount of time it takes depends on a number of factors, many of which are simply out of your control. Since most initial applications are denied and many people fail to timely file for appeal, it is essential that anyone seeking SSDI or SSI benefits obtain qualified legal counsel.
To speak with an experienced SSDI attorney in the Los Angeles or San Diego metro areas, contact the Law Offices of Lawrence D. Rohlfing in Santa Fe Springs, California. To schedule a free consultation, call 562-868-5886.
The Initial Application
Most initial applications for SSDI and SSI benefits are denied. The good news is that most applicants ultimately receive benefits if they keep fighting. Unfortunately, most claimants do not appeal their SSDI claim denials. Don’t let that happen to you.
Having an attorney for the initial application period can be helpful. A failure to include necessary information in your application could cause a significant delay in the processing of your application. Moreover, since most initial applications are denied, a lawyer may be able to improve your chances of success with your initial application.
Request For Reconsideration And Disability Hearings
If Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your initial application for SSDI or SSI benefits, you have just 60 days to request an appeal. In the San Diego area and some parts of the Los Angeles area, you must submit a written request for reconsideration. If SSA denies your request for reconsideration, you have 60 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
In certain parts of the Los Angeles area, the appeals process does not include a request for reconsideration. In these areas, the process skips immediately to a hearing. In either case, you have just 60 days to submit your request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
If you fail to appeal in a timely manner and an extension is not granted, you go back to step one and must file another application for SSDI or SSI benefits. Since most initial applications are denied, submitting your appeal on time is critical.
SSDI And SSI Appeals Before The Appeals Council
If your claim for benefits is denied by an ALJ after your hearing, you have 60 days to file a request for review with the Appeals Council.
U.S. District Court And U.S. Court Of Appeals
If you are not successful at the Appeals Council, you may file an appeal before the U.S. District Court of Appeals. You have 60 days in which to file a case in the District Court serving your area after the Appeals Council denies review of the ALJ decision.
If your case before the District Court is not successful, you may file an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals. You have 60 days in which to file a notice of appeal with the District Court after the court enters judgment against you.