How long will it take for a determination to be issued?

It varies a lot; in our district it can take up to 36 months after the initial filing to get to a hearing. The Initial Review and Reconsideration Stage will each usually take 90-120 days. The Columbus Hearing Office stated in March of 2019 that the average processing time is 584 days from the date the Request for Hearing is filed for a hearing to be scheduled. After a hearing is held a decision typically takes about 8-12 weeks to be issued.

Do you think we have a chance of winning?

I am always hopeful. However, less than 30% of people who apply are found disabled at the initial or reconsideration stages. Although this does not mean that I will not try to win your case at these levels.

Do not be discouraged if we receive a denial notice after the first or second appeal. It may be necessary to go to a hearing to win your case. My success rate of approvals at the hearing level is 75% of all cases taken to a hearing.

Please note, I cannot promise you that I will win your case, as the Social Security Administration can be unpredictable. If I agreed to represent you it is because I believe you have the evidence to support your claim for disability. I do not take cases to hearing that I do not believe that I can win, as I am only paid if you are awarded back benefits.

What happens when I get a denial notice?

The first thing is to make sure that I received a copy. It is necessary for you to do this because the Social Security Administration frequently fails to send a copy of the determination to my office. If I do not get a copy of the notice, I won’t know that a decision has been made on your behalf unless you tell me. We have only 60 days to appeal this decision. Therefore, call immediately after receiving the denial to schedule an appointment.

 Do I need to get medical record or reports?

No, you do not have to get any medical records or reports yourself. In fact, it is better if you do not try to get such things unless I ask you to. We have many years of experience gathering this type of evidence and we can properly track and obtain these records in a timely manner.

But what if my doctor gives s me a report?

If you happen to get something such as a disability form completed by your doctor for an insurance company, etc. be sure to send me a copy.

Should I send anything to the Social Security Administration?

No. As a rule, do not send anything to the Social Security Administration without contacting me first and allowing me to review it. The only exception to this rule is if SSA asked you to sign a medical consent form. You will receive this form known as form SSA-827 every 3-6 months or at the time of an appeal. You may sign this form and return it.

Will I have to fill out additional forms?

Sometime SSA will send you a form to be completed about your daily activities or ask about your symptoms. If you want to discuss this form with me before completing, please call me to schedule an appointment. I always advise my clients to be truthful and descriptive. Don’t exaggerate, but don’t minimize your problems either. Include plenty of details and examples that show your limitations, but don’t go on and on. Giving descriptive examples of how your activities have change since you became unable to work can be very powerful. Complete any form as soon as possible and then send to me. I will review it and submit it to SSA.

 Will SSA ask me to see one of their doctors?

Sometime SSA will ask you to see a private doctor who is paid by SSA for what they call a “consultative examination.” However, the quality of such examinations varies widely. If you get a notice to go to a consultative examination, please telephone us to make sure we received a copy of the notice. PLEASE NOTE: you are required to go to these appointments, I cannot recommend that you not attend. Please arrange to be on time, truthful and be sure to disclose ALL your disabilities and illnesses. Even if you do not believe those illnesses or condition do not prevent you from working.

What will you do to represent me in my claim for disability benefits?

I will review your case. I will figure out what we need to provide to win your case and figure out how to prove it. I will make sure that the Social Security Administration gets the necessary medical records and other records to support your claim. During my review of a case I usually find that SSA does not understand the nature of the claimant’s illness, the condition for which they are applying for disability, there is insufficient medical evidence to support the claim for disability or that the evidence is missing or incomplete.