Attorney Fernando Narvaez Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions
If you are considering applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, or recently received a denial of benefits, the following may be helpful in clarifying some of the most common concerns raised by applicants:
How Long Will My Claim Take?
The SSD/SS? application process can sometimes be lengthy. After you file an initial application, it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 months for an initial decision. If you are denied, your first appeal (Request for Reconsideration) may last another 3 to 5 months. And if you are denied a second time, you must then file a Request for a Hearing with and Administrative Law Judge. It is at this Request for Hearing stage that an individual can expect to wait 14 to 18 months just waiting for a hearing to be scheduled.
Do I Need Medical Evidence to Accompany My Application?
Absolutely. Medical evidence is the hallmark of any successful application for disability benefits. Without it, you could face a certain denial – or, at the very least, be required to submit to a medical evaluation by a physician of the SSA’s choosing. Your doctor’s conclusion of disability is not binding on the SSA’s evaluators, but it carries great weight in the ultimate outcome of your case – particularly if your doctor has been treating you awhile or is a specialist in the field.
I Just Received a Denial of Benefits! What Should I Do?
If you received a denial of benefits, you have a very short window within which to file for a reconsideration or request a hearing. In most states, the first appeal occurs with a request for reconsideration, which involves a re-evaluation of your application by a new set of evaluators. If you have already had a reconsideration or your state skips this step, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
What Takes Place at an Administrative Law Hearing?
The administrative law hearing is an opportunity for you to present your case to an administrative law judge by offering testimony about your restrictions and limitations. The administrative law judge may also seek testimony from medical or occupational experts, as well as other individuals familiar with your situation. Your Social Security disability lawyer will ask probing questions during the hearing in order to elicit testimony as to the severity and extent of your illness or injuries.
Does the SSA Offer Short-Term Disability?
No. The Social Security Administration only offers long-term disability to those with an illness or injury either likely to last longer than one year or likely to result in death. If the medical condition does not meet this criteria, the claim will be denied without exception.
Who Should I Contact for More Information?
For more information about the disability process, please call Social Security disability attorney Fernando V. Narvaez at 727-914-4999.