Social Security Process

Please note that the time frames are based off an AVERAGE for people who apply for disability benefits. The wait time and denial rates change every year.

We can help you fill out your application paperwork and file it on your behalf.

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If your application is denied, Evans Disability will appeal our clients’ cases for them. We prepare our clients very thoroughly for their hearing. We order medical records and reach out to supportive doctors. Our attorneys schedule pre-hearing conferences to make sure our clients are well prepared for their hearing.

We have many resources online to prepare you for your hearing as well. Please come watch our mock hearing which is being performed by Mr. Evans and former Social Security law Judge Dan Hyatt.

Client Resources

Fiscal Year 2023 Workload Data Disability Decisions

Application Level

The initial application level of the Social Security Disability process starts by filing your disability claim. Then the Social Security Administration reviews your application. In this phase of the process, you will complete your initial application and provide SSA with the documentation necessary to process your
claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

On average it takes between seven to eight months for a Social Security Disability applicant to receive a decision on their initial application.

Evans Disability will sit with you and help you fill out your application. You can file your application for Social Security Disability online, over the phone, or at your local Social Security office. You will be required to answer questions relevant to your disability and to fill out several questionnaires regarding your work history, activity of daily living, and medical providers.

Contact Us Disability Insurance Benefits Application Application for SSI

Once SSA approves or denies your claim, they will send you a letter notifying you of their decision. If you are approved for benefits, your letter will state the amount of your monthly benefits and when those benefits will begin. If your application was not approved, then the letter will explain why you were denied and what you need to do if you want to appeal the decision. If you are an Evans Disability client they will also send us those letters so we are informed if we need to appeal the decision.

Social Security only approves approximately 39% of claims at the initial application level. The remaining 61% of applicants are denied benefits at this stage. 

 (2024 Statistic – resource: SSA)

 

Reconsideration

If you apply for Social Security Disability and your claim is denied, you have the option of appealing the decision. This first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. Evans Disability will handle our clients request for reconsideration appeals. 

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If your initial application is denied, you have 65 days to file a request for reconsideration. Your have 65 days from the date of the denial to file your appeal (request for reconsideration).

When you file a Request for Reconsideration with SSA, your application will be sent back to the Social Security office for review. A new examiner will reconsider your disability claim.

Approximately 85% of claims are denied at the reconsideration level. (data provided by SSA prepared on January 29, 2024)

During the reconsideration appeal, on behalf of Evans Disability clients, we update SSA with new information. We help our clients fill out SSA forms, and we get supportive doctors’ opinions into our clients SSA file.

Once SSA has made a decision regarding your reconsideration appeal, they will send you a letter in writing notifying you of their decision. The letter will explain whether or not your appeal was successful and why. If it was not successful, the letter will also describe your rights to appeal. If you are a client ofEvans Disability, SSA will also send us a copy of the denial or award letter.

On average, it takes between seven to eight months to complete the Social Security Disability reconsideration process and to receive this letter of decision.

 

Hearing

If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, there is an appeals process to overturn the Social Security Administration’s denial. The first step of the appeal process is a Request for Reconsideration. If your reconsideration is denied, the next step is a Request for a Hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).

If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you have 65 days to file a Request for Hearing from the date of the Reconsideration denial.

When you request a hearing, the decision as to whether or not you receive disability benefits is in the hands of an administrative law judge. The ALJ who hears your Social Security Disability case will make a decision based on the evidence you present at your hearing as well as any testimonies that may be heard at the hearing.

It is important to have proper legal representation during the Social Security Disability hearing process. Most people have never had to represent themselves in front of a judge, let alone for a disability claim. A Social Security Disability attorney can make sure that your hearing is held properly, that the right questions are asked, and that you are prepared to present your case. We encourage you to reach out to our firm as most of our attorneys have handled more than a thousand hearings each.

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The National average time frame to have your hearing (from the date you request your hearing) is approximately thirteen to fourteen months.

Fortunately, your chances of being awarded Social Security Disability benefits are much greater at this stage than at the initial application and reconsideration stages of the application process. This also emphasizes the important of having good representation and preparation for your disability hearing. 

SSA is reporting that in 2023 the national average of favorable decision was 45%. The average of unfavorable decisions was 30% and the average dismissal rate was 24%. (Resource – Social Security Administration).

 

Appeals Council

If you receive a decision from the Administrative Law Judge that you disagree with, then you have 65 days to ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Social Security Appeals Council will not review your actual disability claim. The Appeals Council only reviews whether or not the decision rendered by the administrative law judge was made according to law.

It can be very hard to win an appeal at this stage of the Social Security Disability claim process. In most cases, the Appeals Council will simply send you a letter stating that the appeal has been denied and will uphold the decision made by the administrative law judge (ALJ). However, there are some situations in which the Appeals Council will send the case back for another hearing or overturn the decision made by the administrative law judge. On an even more rare occasion the Appeals Council can approve you for Social Security Disability benefits.

The average time it takes to process an appeal with the Social Security Appeals Council is approximately nine to twelve months from the date you request your appeal. 

It is important to understand the statistics of favorability are very low at the Appeals Council. (The following information was provided by SSA on date prepared on January 29, 2024)

  • 83% of appeals are denied by the Appeals Council.
  • 13% of appeals are remanded back for another hearing with an ALJ.
  • 1% of appeals receive an allowance for a disability by the Appeals Council.
  • 3% of appeals result in a dismissal

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US District Court

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a long and stressful process. After being denied benefits, it can be tempting to give up. If you are truly disabled and feel that you rightfully deserve disability benefits, you should not give up at this stage in the appeals process.

If the Appeals Council denies your claim, you must file a request for review in United States District Court within 65 days of the date of your Appeals Council decision. You should also understand that time is of the essence when filing an appeal with the Federal District Court.

The appeals process at the Federal District Court level can be a very confusing and legally complicated one. Because of this, it is important to have an experienced disability lawyer representing you during the Federal District Court appeal. Your lawyer will be responsible for filing the complaint and writing the opening and reply briefs. In addition to these required documents, the Federal District Court may also require an oral argument. In this case, your attorney will need to argue your case in front of a Judge.

It is important to understand that your case is no longer going to be decided by someone who is employed by the Social Security Administration. Your case will now be decided by a United States Federal Court Judge. These Judges decide many cases other than just Social Security cases. US District Court Judges preside over a wide range of Federal criminal and civil cases.

Typically, no new documents, evidence or testimony will be considered in this stage of the Social Security Disability appeals process. Once the briefs have been filed, the Judge will decide the outcome of your case. At this point, one of three things can happen. The Judge can either:

  • Decide to uphold the decision made by the Social Security Disability Appeals Council.
  • Decide to remand your case for additional review by the Social Security Administration.
  • Decide to grant you your Social Security Disability benefits.

Because Federal District Court Judges experience very heavy workloads, the timeframe can be long.

The average national wait time for a Federal Court Judge to issue your decision (from the date you file your case to the date of the decision is approximately twelve months).

At the United States District Court – National statics provided by SSA on data prepared on January 29, 2024. 

  • 33% of appeals are denied by the Appeals Council.
  • 61% of appeals are remanded back for another hearing with an ALJ.
  • 1% of appeals receive an allowance for a disability by the Appeals Council.
  • 5% of appeals result in a dismissal

If your appeal is denied at the United States District Court level, you can appeal to the Federal Circuit Court and potentially even to the United States Supreme Court.

Call us today at 1-855-503-0101 to see if you may qualify for disability benefits.

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