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Social Security Disability Q & A

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Here are answers to three of the most common questions about Social Security Disability. Brought to you by Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability Advocates.

Q. What should I do if my claim for Social Security Disability benefits was denied?

A. There are five things you should do if your claim for SSD benefits was denied:

1. File an appeal within 60 days of the denial date if the state where you live offers reconsideration - some states do not.

2. If you are denied after reconsideration or your state does not offer a reconsideration process, request a hearing with an administrative law judge.

3. If you are denied by the administrative law judge, request a review by the Appeals Council.

4. If you are denied by the Appeals Council, you can file a lawsuit in federal court.

5. Before you do any of these things, get help from a seasoned Social Security Disability advocate.

Q. How long will I have to wait for benefits?

A. Your waiting time depends on several factors - where you live, whether your initial claim was denied, your type of disability and other considerations. Even if you were approved the day you filed your application for benefits, you would still have to wait five months. That's just the rule.

If you request a reconsideration (if your state offers this option) after your initial claim was denied, it will add around four months to your claim. If you are turned down at the reconsideration level, it will take more than a year on average to get an appointment before an administrative law judge. If you request an Appeals Council review, count on at least a year for the council to respond.

Q. I receive VA disability benefits. Why can't I get Social Security Disability benefits as well?

A. Social Security has stricter definitions of disability than the Department of Veterans Affairs does, which is one reason that disabled veterans may receive benefits from the VA, but not from Social Security. Similarly, if you are found to be totally and permanently disabled by your state's workers' compensation system, your application for SSD benefits may still be denied.

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