There are many stages in the process of applying for and appealing a denial of Social Security disability benefits. Navigating the disability claims process is very confusing. Many people want to know the best time to hire a lawyer.
The answer depends on how comfortable you are dealing with the process and the government on your own. After you file your application, you need to stay in touch with the local Social Security office to make sure all of the necessary paperwork is in your file and that the case is being processed. Cases can, and do, fall through the cracks. You will want to gather evidence. It will take about 3-6 months to get an answer. Two-thirds of all cases are denied at this level. You then have 60 days to file an appeal. Do not miss the appeal deadline or you will have to start all over again – from the beginning.
After you file the first appeal it will take another 3-6 months to get a decision. You should be submitting new evidence throughout this stage of the case. Over 80% of cases will be denied again. Your time limit to file a second appeal is 60 days. If you are handling the case yourself don’t miss the appeal deadline or you will have to start all over again – from the beginning.
I get involved in Social Security disability cases at any point after you file an application. Most people call me after their first denial. I cannot get involved if you already have a hearing scheduled because I will not have enough time to properly evaluate the claim and obtain additional evidence. My team and I will submit the necessary medical records and get additional information from your treating doctors about your limitations and why you cannot work. We will monitor your case and file the appeals as necessary.
If your case goes to a hearing I will prepare you for the hearing. You need to know what to expect and I will explain that to you. I will question you as if we were at the hearing so that you will be comfortable when you testify. Of course, I will be with you at the hearing.
For more information about Social Security disability claims, order a FREE copy of my book, Unofficial Guide to Social Security Disability Claims, by completing the order form on this page.