At Your Side Throughout a Complicated Process
From the moment you fill out your Social Security Disability application, you are embarking on a complicated process that is often measured in years. Deadlines must be met. Many become discouraged with the waiting game that comes following the application. Others give up after the initial denial.
Residents of Seattle and Western Washington have relied on the attorneys at The Walthew Law Firm to provide them the vital information and aggressive representation they need. You can even the odds against you by seeking representation at the time of the initial denial.
Get the facts on the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits and appealing adverse decisions. Contact us at 206-812-2997 or toll free at 888-534-5255.
A Complicated Process Begins
Many applications for Social Security Disability are turned down. That is not the time to give up. The decision should motivate you to contact one of our attorneys. Within 60 days of that initial denial, you must submit a written request for reconsideration. If that is denied, you have another 60 days to request a hearing. Meeting deadlines is vital. After the request for hearing, no further action is taken by the Social Security Administration while your application is forwarded to the Office of Hearing and Appeals. During this time, we collect medical records and other evidence for the judge to make a decision.
The Wait for a Hearing and Judge's Decision
The hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is fairly informal, but it can take up to 16 to 18 months for the hearing to be scheduled after the request for hearing is filed. Having an attorney with you at the hearing is imperative, for while the hearing is somewhat informal, this may be your only chance to have your voice heard and the facts of your disability presented to the judge. Your attorney will ask questions on your medical conditions and the impact on your work and home life. Judges can make inquiries as well.
Before any hearing commences, we will gather a complete set of medical records. At the hearing, we will present your testimony, your spouse's testimony if you are married, and possibly another witness such as a friend or other family member who knows of your disabling conditions. They can testify to the extent of your disability and how it has impacted your life. The Administrative Law Judge may ask a medical or vocational witness to testify, but we have the knowledge and experience to effectively question the Judge's witness at the hearing. To prove your claim for disability through the Social Security Administration, you may have to show that your disabling condition or conditions meet or exceed the Listings of Impairment set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations. If you do not meet those criteria, then our job is to prove that you do not have the skills that could be used for work that is within your physical capacity and work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.
Based on the medical records submitted and the testimony at the hearing, the judge will write a decision. If the decision is favorable, you will receive benefits. If it is not favorable, an appeal to the Appeals Council is made, requesting review of the hearing judge's decision. If that is unfavorable, then an appeal to Federal Court can be taken.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer regarding the Social Security Disability claim process, please contact us.