Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my case taking so long?
The Social Security Administration processes millions of disability applications every year. They are also an enormous federal agency with multiple levels of bureaucracy. Due to an enormous backlog, many cases take at least two years before an appeal can be heard if front of a live judge. Certain, more complex appeals can take even longer.
SSA denied my application for disability. Should I appeal?
The answer is almost always yes. Many seriously disabled individuals initially have their applications denied. A denial does not mean that you are not disabled. Also, failing to appeal can seriously impact your chances of getting approved for disability benefits in the future. Please note that strict deadlines apply to every level of appeal, so it is imperative that you act quickly if you receive a denial from the SSA.
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There is never a fee unless your case is won.
Why should I hire a lawyer to represent me?
Social Security law can be enormously complex. The U. S. Supreme Court has called the Social Security Act “Byzantine” and noted that it is “almost unintelligible to the uninitiated.” An in-depth knowledge of the relevant case law and the often obscure regulations and rulings can be the difference between winning and losing your case. Claimants represented by an experienced attorney are therefore much more likely to have a successful outcome. This study by the U. S. General Accounting Office found that claimants represented by an attorney are three to five times more likely to win their disability cases than claimants that are not represented.
Does SSA consider my age, education, and work experience in their disability determinations?
Yes, in certain situations. These considerations are especially critical for individuals over 50 that have not graduated high school or have a history of only unskilled work. Special consideration is also given to individuals that are not able read or write fluently in English. The rules that apply to these situations are complex, and are often misapplied by Social Security case workers and even judges. Having an experienced disability attorney working on your case can dramatically improve your chances of success in such situations.
My neighbor/friend/acquaintance was approved for disability benefits even though there is nothing wrong with them. How did that happen?
There are two possible explanations for such a situation. First, unless you have access to an individual’s complete medical records, you may not be aware of their medical impairments. Not all disabilities can be identified through casual contact. Second, mistakes do happen, and it is certainly possible that some individuals are approved for disability benefits even though they are not seriously disabled. Rest assured, however, that SSA does have systems in place to periodically review cases for fraud and abuse.