The Social Security Disability Application Process, Visualized

social security disability application process infographic header

The Social Security disability application process can be long and grueling—many applicants who need the benefits give up on their applications that are sometimes in the process for years. What they don’t know is that a Social Security disability lawyer can potentially double their chances at getting the benefits they need.

Check out the infographic below to see the hard numbers involved in the Social Security disability application process, and see the impact that legal representation can have on your claim. Then get a free case evaluation to see if you may qualify:

There are two things you should know about getting legal aid for the Social Security disability application process, whether from an attorney, a lawyer, or an advocate:

1) They can only charge you fees from the back-pay they earn you, so you will never have to pay them from your monthly benefits. They are also limited to charging you 25% of your back-pay, or $6,000 — whichever is less. That means they are highly motivated to get you as much back-pay as possible. Social Security disability lawyers that work with get an average of $10,000 in back-pay for beneficiaries like you.

2) The Social Security Advisory Board themselves said this about legal representation on your disability claim: “Overall, representatives’ services have the potential to greatly expedite the disability determination process, while ensuring that the claimant receives the most informed determination possible at the initial claims stage.”

 Since 1956 disabled americans have been relying on the financial assistance of disability benefits. Unfortunately, not everyone will experience smooth sailing on their journey towards approval. One way applicants can prepare for unexpected situations is to know the ins and outs of the Social Security disability application process. Below are key steps that all potential beneficiaries should be aware of.

Getting Started

Before you file for benefits it’s important to know if you meet the SSA’s definition of “disability.” If you meet the definition the greater your chance may be of being approved with your initial application. Here are the requirements outlined on the SSA’s website:

  • Your medical issue must stop you from holding a job that pays enough to cover monthly expenses
  • Your condition must be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months or result in death

If your claim fits into the specifications listed above it’s time to start preparing to file. You can begin this process either on your own by filing online, over the phone, or by visiting a local Social Security office. In addition to these options, applicants have the right to can file their claim through a disability attorney or advocate.

Whichever way you decide to apply, the same forms, medical records, and documentation will be needed to prove your claim. The more evidence you’re able to provide the SSA, the better chance you may have of securing monthly benefits.

What Happens After You File?

After you file your claim, it will be sent to the Disability Determination Service (DDS). Experts approved by the administration will then examine your case and make a decision regarding approval. According to the SSA, the wait for a decision often takes 3 to 5 months, but it can vary on a case-by-case basis. The processing timeline usually depends on the speed of which you provide medical records and additional proof of disability.

If a positive decision has been made on your claim, the SSA will send you an award letter. This letter will provide you with payment information and further details surrounding your benefits. If you’re denied disability you have every right to appeal the decision. This is when people find that assistance from a qualified legal representative can be beneficial.

Seeking Legal Help

It’s your right to obtain professional guidance at anytime during the disability claims process. Seeking this type of aid may not only beneficial to your case, but it can potentially take some of the stress off of your plate. Disability lawyers and advocates are well versed in the practice and can help you collect medical records and documentation that best fits your claims needs.

While not everyone will need the assistance of a representative in order to be approved. Those who are facing an appeal or have complicated claims may find this method of applying useful.

If you’re ready to find out what an advocate or attorney can do for you, click on the button below. There you will find a free benefits evaluation that may help you jump-start your journey towards approval.

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation