Millions of Americans rely on Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD) to make ends meet each month. In fact, SSD is one of the most important social welfare programs in the United States. But many people need clarification on how the process works and how long it takes for benefits to start. This information is essential to understanding and maximizing your chances of getting your disability benefits as soon as possible.
What Is the Social Security Disability Benefits Process?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for awarding SSD benefits. The process begins when an individual files a claim. The SSA will then review the claim and decide whether the person is disabled and meets the criteria for benefits.
If the SSA approves the claim, the individual will typically start receiving SSD benefits within three to five months. The SSA will backdate the benefits to the date of the disability so that claimants will receive a lump sum for the months that they waited for approval.
If the SSA denies the claim, the individual can file an appeal. The appeals process can take several months, but it is important to note that many claims are approved after an appeal. Sometimes initial claims are inaccurately denied due to a misunderstanding of the claimant’s condition or work history. Other times, new evidence may be gathered during the appeals process that was not available when the initial claim was filed.
How Can a Social Security Disability Attorney Help?
While you are not required to have an attorney to file a claim for SSD benefits, it can be helpful to have someone on your side who is familiar with the process and knows what evidence is needed to support your claim.
An attorney can also help you:
- Focus on healing by taking care of the legal details: Relieve your stress by hiring a disability attorney to manage your SSD claim. Your lawyer will take care of the paperwork and deadlines, so you can focus on your health.
- Get your claim approved faster: An attorney will know what evidence to submit with your claim to give you the best chance of being approved quickly. Sometimes, when individuals file without an attorney, their claim is denied simply because they did not submit the right documentation or missed a deadline. This can be avoided by having an attorney oversee the process.
- Gather the evidence you need to prove your case: Your attorney will work with your doctors and other professionals to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. This can include medical records, treatment notes, and statements from family and friends. These need to be legally obtained and submitted in a way that will be persuasive to the SSA, which is another benefit of having an attorney.
- Navigate the appeals process: If your claim is denied, your attorney can help you navigate the appeals process and increase your chances of being approved for benefits. Sometimes these appeals can take months, but an attorney will know what to do to keep the process moving along as quickly as possible. They will take a close look at the reason for denial and gather any additional evidence that may be needed to address the initial concerns.
- Serve as the ultimate resource for your questions and concerns: All claims are different, and you will likely have questions throughout the process. Your attorney will be there when you are feeling lost and frustrated to offer guidance and support. This can ease the stress of the process and help you get the benefits you deserve.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Get My First Social Security Check After Applying?
A: The wait time for your first Social Security check is usually about three to five months. This timeframe begins when you file your claim and ends when you receive your first benefit payment. Your claim may be approved faster if you have a severe disability or meet certain other criteria. While it is frustrating to have no income initially, remember that you will receive a lump sum payment for the months you waited once your claim is approved.
Q: What Is the Most Compelling Evidence to Submit With a Social Security Disability Claim?
A: While every claim is different, some of the most persuasive evidence that can be submitted are medical records. These should document your diagnosis, treatment history, and how your condition has impacted your ability to work. This is the easiest form of proof for the SSA to acknowledge your disability. Other common evidence used to support a claim includes statements from family and friends, treatment notes, and work records.
Q: What Happens If I Recover Faster Than Initially Expected?
A: If your condition improves and you can return to work before your benefits expire, you will need to notify the SSA as soon as possible. They will then stop your benefits, and you will not be eligible to receive them again unless your condition worsens. It is important to keep the SSA updated on your condition and any changes in your ability to work.
Q: Can I Receive Social Security Disability Benefits and Workers’ Compensation Simultaneously?
A: You can receive both Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation at the same time, but there are limits on how much you can receive from both sources combined. The total amount you can receive cannot exceed 80% of your pre-disability earnings. If you receive benefits from both sources and your combined income exceeds this limit, your Social Security disability benefits will be reduced.
Contact Gade & Parekh, LLP, Today
Applying for and appealing a denial of Social Security disability benefits can be long and complicated. It is important to have an experienced advocate on your side to help you navigate the process and give you the best chance of success.
At Gade & Parekh, LLP, we have helped countless clients get the benefits they need. We understand what it takes to win a claim, and we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. We will review your claim and help you understand your options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Social Security disability attorneys.