The Social Security Disability Process

Have questions about Social Security Disability? Of course you do. We all do! Click here for a detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers.

Getting Social Security Disability benefits can be a long process. The Social Security law is very complicated. The Supreme Court has said that the Social Security Act itself is one of the most complicated statutes ever written and most attorneys are not familiar with the procedures or the requirements. The government makes the process difficult. The forms are complicated and tricky. The waiting time for a hearing on your SSD benefits can be years.

Statistics clearly show that claimants who are represented by lawyers and advocates like those at Binder & Binder® win their Social Security Disability benefits far more often than those who apply on their own. Applying through us means the forms will be filled out properly and the whole process will be much less stressful, and much more likely to have a happy outcome.

Steps for Filing a Social Security Disability Claim

Everyone's experience with the Social Security Administration is different. Some people win quickly; most do not. But no matter how long your case takes, or even how quickly your case goes, please remember one thing: We'll deal with the government. You have enough to worry about.

There are many steps in filing a Social Security Disability claim. The general procedure looks something like this:

1) Initial Application/Filing your claim: We will make sure that we have gathered and submitted all the information necessary to have your claim approved. We know what Social Security looks for in a successful application and we know the law on Social Security Disability. We will file your Social Security application after going over it with you.

2) Reconsideration: While some claimants win at the initial application stage, most do not. In some states, we have to file for a reconsideration, which is a second paper stage. In other states, in order to reduce the incredibly long delays in the process, as an experiment, reconsideration has been abolished and we apply directly for an administrative hearing. Of the three stages, reconsideration is the one in which you are least likely to be granted benefits.

3) Hearing Before the Administrative Law Judge: If you were denied at reconsideration or if you skip reconsideration, we will request a hearing for you in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Our advocates will continue to update the medical evidence and prepare you for your testimony. The hearing stage is the most crucial stage. Here, you will be seen by a judge for the first time and you will be able to tell in your own words why you can't work. The judge, with the aid of a staff attorney, will then prepare a written decision.

4) The Appeals Council: While most cases handled by Binder & Binder® are won at the hearing stage, some ALJs are tougher than others and they deny cases that should have been granted. If that happens to you, we appeal the case to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council can also deny your claim or send the case back to an Administrative Law Judge for another hearing. On some occasions, they will outright reverse the case and pay it.

5) Federal District Court: Finally, if you lose throughout the entire administrative process, a claimant is entitled to file in the United States District Court. While Binder & Binder® does not represent claimants in the federal courts, we work with lawyers who specialize in these types of appeals and we'll make sure that you are represented by an experienced lawyer in the United States District Court.

Talk to Us About the Social Security Disability Process

The best way to learn about the Social Security Disability process is to call us at 1-800-66-BINDER or complete our online contact form. We serve clients all over America from New York to Alaska — no matter where you live.

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