Unfortunately, the process can be lengthy just as in any other time you are dealing with the federal government. The Social Security Disability claim process is broken down into phases and the duration of each phase can differ. The initial application process can take anywhere from 3-5 months to receive a response. Reconsideration phase is another 3-5 months and getting a hearing with an administrative law judge can take as long as 12-18 months and it only gets worse from there. Having adequate legal representation can greatly decrease the time in which a claim is decided.
Can I afford to hire a lawyer?
Yes, absolutely. The federal government regulates the fees in which a lawyer or legal represent can charge for their services. Fees can only be deducted from Past Due Benefits, never out of a client’s pocket and no upfront retainer fees. This is referred to as a contingency fee agreement.
When should I hire a lawyer?
In August of 2010, a report published by the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration found that having representation as early as possible significantly improves the likelihood that the disability benefits claim will be approved. We invite you to contact us at any time during the process, but the sooner the better.
Will I need to go to court?
For the first two phases, called Initial Application and Reconsideration, there is no court appearance required by any party. If the claim is still denied after the first two attempts, you can and will be called to court to appear in front of an administrative law judge. Any further hearings will likely be held in a court room setting as well.