Social Security Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply for Social Security benefits?
When you hire our firm to help you in a claim for Social Security Disability benefits and you have not already filed, we will usually have you file directly with the Social Security Administration as the initial application is very simple. It can be done online or by phone with your local field office. We will want to get to work immediately by sending you a form that you can have your regular treating physician fill out that will be of great benefit in the determination of your claim.
What if I am Denied?
Such a high percentage of those who file a Social Security Disability claim are denied multiple times before they are approved. Do not get discouraged. You need to appeal if you feel you have a legitimate claim. A denial means that the lower level decision makers feel that there is not enough evidence on the record to award benefits. If you are truly unable to work, it may simply be a matter of gathering more records or have your regular treating physician fill out one of our forms that may make your claim clearer. Even then it may mean that we have to plead your case before an Administrative Law Judge.
I’m not sure I qualify. How can I find out?
We can help. Take our quick evaluation and we will let you know if you qualify for social security benefits.
How Long Does the Process Take?
The hard truth is that, on average, it takes 2 years to get from the date of your initial application to the date a decision is made by an Administrative Law Judge.
Who Attends a Social Security Disability Hearing?
This hearing is attended by you, your representative, the Judge, a Court Reporter and a Vocational Expert. Occasionally, if the judge chooses, a Medical Expert will be on hand (usually by phone).
What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing?
Usually, the first thing that happens is that the Administrative Law Judge will take a few minutes to explain the process and swear you in. Then, the Judge will usually begin asking some preliminary questions about your household, your age, height, weight, etc. The Judge will then either turn the time over to your representative to draw from your testimony about your impairments or problems or he may interrupt with questions or he may choose to lead the questioning. After your testimony, the Judge will ask some hypothetical questions to the vocational expert. The Judge here is trying to find out if a hypothetical person with your impairments can do any job. After the Judge has laid out the restrictions of a hypothetical, the Vocational Expert will then be asked to list any jobs which can still be done in spite of the restrictions of the hypothetical. Each hypothetical will layer on more and more restrictions until there are no jobs that the Vocational Expert can think of that would still apply.
What Are the Levels of Appeal of a Social Security Disability Claim
– If denied Request for Reconsideration
– If denied Request for Hearing
– If denied Hearing before Administrative Law Judge
– If denied Appeals Panel Review
– If denied Appeal to Federal District Court
What Factors are Important in a Social Security Disability Claim?
The factors that are important in a Social Security Disability Claim are as follows: Age, Education, Past Work Experience, Impairments (medical problems you face)
How is a Decision Made at the Hearing Level?
In a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, your case will be dealing with five main questions (known as the Five Step Analysis). They are as follows:
- Are you working or have you been working?
- Do you have a severe impairment?
- Do you meet all of the criteria of a listing for disability?
- Can you work the same jobs you used to work?
- Is there other work that you can do?
What is a Consultative Examination?
A guide for health professionals.