SSDI Lawyers Explain Why Your Claim Takes So Long to Decide
Living with a new disability can be challenging and life-altering, especially if it affects your ability to work. Many Americans who have applied for social security disability have experienced a long waiting period, often followed by a rejection.
Since most people applying for benefits need them to support themselves and their families, they are understandably frustrated with the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s process and wonder why it takes so long for them to receive a decision. The reasons include underfunding of the SSA, mistakes in submissions, and problems accessing medical records.
If you’ve received a rejection for your disability claim, work with the experienced disability lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., to appeal your case.
Funding and Staffing Problems
The SSA is, like many governmental offices, chronically understaffed and under-funded. There are often many more applications than people available to process them, meaning the process takes longer.
Mistakes in Submissions
Submitting a disability claim application can be complicated, and people often make mistakes. Whether that’s forgetting to include the necessary medical evidence of your disability or writing the incorrect phone number for your doctor, these mistakes could slow down the process or result in a denial.
When applying for disability benefits, you must check all the required boxes. The SSA has a checklist to help you turn in a complete application. The information and documents you’ll need include:
- Information about your place and date of birth
- Detailed information about previous and current marriages and divorces, including age and name of all previous and current spouses and start and end dates
- Information about your children who are under 18 or became disabled before their 22nd birthday
- Your military service record, if applicable
- Your current employer’s information (and any previous employers’ information for the past two years) and your earnings for the past two years
- If you were self-employed, your earnings for the past two years
- Your bank information
- An extensive description of your medical problems, including contact information for all your doctors, physical therapists, and any other medical professional involved in your case
- Work history (up to 5 jobs) from the past 15 years that you can no longer work due to your disability
- The date your disability or injury started affecting your work
This application, which you can access on the SSA website by creating a my Social Security account, is complex and lengthy. You may benefit from working with a law firm experienced in handling disability cases like Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. We can help ensure you provide all the documents to back up your claims, including tax forms, diagnoses, and insurance claims. .
Lack of Deadlines
Your case may take several months because there is no deadline for SSA employers to send your answer. This means that it could take anywhere from several months to a year to receive a decision and your benefits.
The SSA may also wait to see if your current physical therapy, or upcoming surgery, will allow you to return to work.
Problems Contacting Doctors
Doctor offices are busy and can sometimes take several weeks to respond to a request for confirmation by SSA officials. While you cannot control the speed with which your doctor responds, you can help by ensuring that all the contact information is correct. You should also make sure that you reference the correct doctor and include the relevant medical terms.
You could also let your medical team know that you are applying for disability benefits, so they can prepare the documents beforehand.
Appealing a Denial
From 2001 to 2010, nearly 45% of claims were denied. You can receive a denial on technical or medical grounds. Regardless of the reason for the denial, you may be able to appeal the decision. The appeals process can also take a long time, and working with a lawyer at our law firm can help you navigate a successful path.
There are four levels to appealing a denial. The first step is to file a request for reconsideration. In this step, a different person evaluates your application, including any new evidence you wish to submit.
If you receive a second denial after the reconsideration step, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. Your lawyer will help you provide more evidence to show that you are disabled, cannot work, and require the benefits, and can also find expert witnesses to support your claims. To speed up this process, you can schedule a video hearing rather than an in-person one.
If the judge denies your claim, the third step is to ask the Appeals Council to review your claim. However, the Appeals Council may decline to review your case if they believe the judge made the correct decision.
Lastly, you can take your case to your local federal court. While the SSA will provide information about how to file a lawsuit, you will benefit from working with an experienced disability lawyer.
Contact a Disability Attorney
Working with an experienced disability lawyer can help speed up the process and limit the chances of denial by ensuring your application contains no mistakes and has all the documents required. Cochran, Kroll & Associates, senior partner, P.C., Eileen Kroll, can use her experience as a registered nurse to ensure that you include all your necessary medical documents in your application to improve your application.
Call us at 866-MICH-LAW (866-642-4529) to schedule your free consultation. We always work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t need to pay us anything until we win your case, whether that’s filing your initial application or a request for reconsideration.