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The Social Security Application Process

Social Security – The Application Process
Blog Written By:
Nicholas Wearne,  SSD Attorney
Snow, Carpio & Weekley
As the firm’s social security disability attorney some of the most common questions I get is how do I apply for social security disability and what do I expect once I have applied.   The application process for social security disability is a lengthy one.   It all starts with an initial application that you fill out online at www.ssa.gov. Once the application is complete it goes off for review.  They will request your medical records and determine whether you are disabled pursuant to the law.  It takes roughly 4-6 months to hear back on the initial application and the vast majority of people who apply get denied.  But do not be discouraged, the denial can be appealed with a request for reconsideration.
When a request for reconsideration is completed your application goes back in for the review process a second time.  Usually if you were denied at the initial level you will be denied at the reconsideration level as well. It takes about 6-8 months to hear back on the request for reconsideration. If you are denied at reconsideration, do not be discouraged, the denial can be appealed with a request for hearing.
If you have not involved an attorney at this point, I would highly recommend it.  It takes roughly a year to get a hearing date.  Unlike the previous phases prior to the hearing you will be expected to submit evidence to the judge regarding your medical condition.  At the hearing you will be expected to present an argument as to why you are disabled under the law.  The hearing lasts about one hour.  After several months of consideration the judge will make a determination as to whether or not you are disabled and qualify for benefits.
If you are denied at the hearing level, and there is an error in the way the judge applied the law you can appeal your case to the Appeals Counsel where a group of judges will review the decision to see if there was any error in the way the judge applied the law.  If you are denied at Appeals Counsel there are select cases you can appeal to Federal Court.  Federal Court cases are not something that we handle at our firm.


In sum, the application process is lengthy.  It can be frustrating and discouraging. If you are at any level of the application process and need help with your claim feel free to contact Snow Carpio and Weekley and just ask to speak with our Social Security Department.
If you or someone you know has been hurt on the job or has an disability that could prevent them from working for at least one year, contact Snow, Carpio & Weekley for a free consultation by calling toll-free at 855-325-4781 or you can visit our website at: www.workinjuryaz.com
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