What Is The Disability Claims Process Like?


Are you living with a disability and want to file a claim but don’t know how to apply or the claim process?  

The United States government offers several financial assistance programs, like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These Social Security disability insurance benefits are funded and administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).   

However, the claim process for the SSA is strict, and disability laws are complex to understand. Also, the submission of the wrong information or medical evidence can result in the rejection of your lawsuit. Whether you’re applying for short-term or long-term benefits, understanding the steps involved can help you approve your claim. 

To avoid this stress, it’s recommended to seek disability advice from legal professionals. A disability benefits law firm has years of experience and expertise in handling cases similar to yours. From gathering evidence to preparing you for the hearing, a disability lawyer can help you in many ways. This blog explains the claim process in detail, from eligibility requirements to filing for disability benefits claims and what happens after submission of the application. It also describes how a disability attorney can help you navigate this complex process effectively.  

Here’s the step-by-step claim process.  

Step 1: Initial Application 

  • Preparation and Documentation:  

The first step is to collect all the necessary information and documentation, such as medical records, employment history, and personal information. These documents must prove that you’re unable to work or your injuries severely impacted your ability to work.  

  • Application Submission:  

You can submit your application online through the SSA website, by phone, or in person at a local SSA office. Here, it will require detailed information about your medical condition, treatment records, and how the condition affects your daily life and ability to work. 

  • Initial Review:  

After successful submission of the application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your application. This step is crucial to determining whether the information you have provided is complete and meets the basic requirements for SSDI. 

Stage 2: State Disability Determination Services (DDS) Review 

If your application doesn’t meet the basic requirements, your claim will be denied at this initial stage. However, if it passes, it will be forwarded to a state agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS). It is responsible for evaluating the medical aspects of your claim. 

  • Medical Records Review:  

DDS will review all medical records that should comprehensively document your disability, including your diagnosis and treatment history. 

  • Consultative Examinations:  

After successfully submitting your medical evidence, DDS may request additional medical exams to gather more information about your condition. Independent healthcare professionals conduct these exams to check how they affect your ability to work. 

  • Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessment:  

DDS will assess your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) and determine the types of work you may still be able to perform. 

Stage 3: The Decision and Potential Appeals 

The last and most crucial step is deciding your claim. On the basis of the evidence you provide and the careful determination of the medical examination, the DDS will make the decision.  

There are three possible outcomes of the disability claims:  

  • Approval:  

After checking and carefully determining the information and evidence that you submitted in your disability claim insurance, if they find it legit, your application will get approved. After some time, you will get a notice and start receiving the benefits.  

  • Denial:  

Unfortunately, if your application gets denied, don’t despair. There are many cases where the claim gets rejected at the initial stage. This definitely doesn’t mean that you’re ineligible for disability benefits. You can also apply for the appeal.  

The Appeals Process 

Just like the claim process, the appeals process also consists of several stages: 

  • Request for Reconsideration:  

If you disagree with the decision, you can request a reconsideration. It involves a complete review (without a hearing) of your application by a different team within DDS. You can also seek disability advice from a law firm at this stage, as they can help you strengthen your appeal. 

  • Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ):  

If your reconsideration is denied, you can request a hearing before an ALJ. Here, you can present your case in person and also provide new evidence and medical experts to support your claim. 

Benefits of Hiring Disability Law Firm 

If your claim gets denied at the initial stage, you can apply for an appeal, but the entire process is complex and daunting. It includes resubmission of all the paperwork along with new and solid medical evidence. This is why consulting a disability lawyer at this point is highly recommended. A qualified disability benefits law firm can offer invaluable assistance throughout the process.  

Here are some key advantages to hiring a disability lawyer:  

  • Expert Guidance and Knowledge: 

An experienced disability attorney specializes in understanding the intricate details of disability law and the SSA’s requirements. They will ensure that your application is accurate, complete, and compelling, which will ultimately maximize your chances of success. 

  • Gathering Evidence:  

They will meticulously analyze your situation and gather the necessary medical evidence to present a compelling case. 

  • Appeals Support:  

It gets really frustrating and stressful when, even after careful submission of the documents and medical evidence, your application gets denied. On top of that, the appeal process is time-consuming. Here, a disability law firm can help you by guiding you through the appeals process and representing you at hearings within the given deadlines.  

  • Reduced Stress:  

A law firm will handle the legal aspects, from collecting required medical documents to preparing for the hearing, so that you can entirely focus on your health and well-being.  

Final Thoughts  

If you’re suffering from a chronic illness or disability, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The entire process of the claim, from application submission to getting approval, seems overwhelming. However, with the help of proper guidance and disability advice, you can get the disability benefits that you deserve. Consult a reputable disability law firm to make the claim process easy and stress-free. These legal experts will guide you through the appeal process and make sure you get a favorable outcome this time.  

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