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February 2014
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Sooner is better when filing for Social Security Disability benefits


While the process can be lengthy, once benefits begin they can provide a lifeline for individuals who desperately need the help

February 01, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ — Disabled individuals often must live day-to-day, taking time to accomplish tasks that would otherwise be routine if not for their disabling condition. It is understandable, then, that many people with disabilities struggle with applying for Social Security Disability benefits, a process that can be time-consuming and is often confusing. Medical appointments, spending time with family and treatment take a higher priority than dealing with some bureaucratic and uncertain process.

However, applying for SSDI benefits as soon as possible can be life-changing for Americans struggling with a disability. SSDI benefits, if approved, begin six months after the SSA determines the disability began. This means the sooner a person applies for disability benefits, the sooner he or she may be able to use benefits for much-needed living expenses. The Social Security Administration is large and handles countless applications, so there is no set timetable for any one application. However, generally the SSA will issue an initial decision on a claim between several months and half a year after receiving an application. The SSA denies the majority of first-time applications.

Appeals process

The process does not need to end when an initial claim is denied. A claimant may choose to appeal a denied claim four times, involving:
– Reconsideration (in most states)
– An appeals hearing
– A review by the Appeals Council
– An appeal to federal court

A reconsideration is a review of a claim by the SSA involving someone who did not take part in the initial rejection. Often it is not necessary for a claimant to appear personally in front of anyone from the SSA during reconsideration. An appeals hearing, on the other hand, occurs in front of an Administrative Law Judge. At an appeals hearing a claimant has the opportunity to present relevant medical information and answer questions in order to prove eligibility for benefits. If still unsuccessful, the claimant can then appeal to the SSA Appeals Council one more time before having to resort to Federal court.

A claimant generally has 60 days from the notice of rejection to file an appeal to obtain a hearing. The hearing will occur usually a year or more after an appeal is filed. If a claimant does win an appeal, he or she is eligible to receive back benefits, meaning the SSA can pay benefits for the months between its initial rejection and its ultimate acknowledgement of eligibility.

Getting expert help

SSDI provides basic living expenses for Americans who are suffering from a disability and unable to work. While the process can be lengthy, once benefits begin they can provide a lifeline for individuals who desperately need the help. Disabled individuals seeking SSDI benefits should contact an experienced SSDI attorney to discuss their claim and to get help in providing all relevant information in a timely and persuasive manner to the SSA.

Article provided by Berger and Green
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