There are many reasons to get legal representation when you suffer from a disability and are looking to get disability from the Social Security Administration. Many disabled people hope that if they retain an attorney, they will get Social Security Disability more quickly. Can a lawyer help you get a hearing more quickly? No. What a lawyer can do is to make sure that you don’t make procedural mistakes that will slow the process down. So, in that regard, a lawyer can help you speed up your case. But, hiring a lawyer does not mean your case will be sped through the line over others without a lawyer. Can a lawyer help you get your benefits more quickly if you win? Possibly, especially if your lawyer has been handling Social Security Disability cases and has a relationship with the Social Security Administration. But are either of these a guarantee? Unfortunately, no. This is the case whether you have the top disability lawyers in Maryland or are representing yourself. The good news, though, is that our Social Security disability lawyers at Greenberg and Bederman are familiar with the law judges and the staff at Social Security, and we understand the rules to help you get your disability claim through the system. We do this by writing briefs to Judges, presenting the briefs how each judge likes to see them presented, collecting the proper medical evidence to prove your case, getting documentation to prove that you have dire financial needs, and by giving you tips to optimize your chances of collecting SSD or SSI.
Hearing waiting times are backed up all over the United States, including the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas. This is for many reasons. First, there are many people who are applying for benefits (SSD, SSI, Medicare, and/or Medicaid) because they have not been able to receive adequate health care in order to rehabilitate themselves. Second, steps to apply and appeal for SSD and SSI are lengthy. Third, due to the troubled economy, there have been budget cuts and layoffs. Thus, many Social Security agents are now overwhelmed with disability claims.
Rumor has it that it takes longer to get Social Security because people fake disability. However, in our experience at Greenberg and Bederman, very few people fake disability. No one wants to be disabled and have limitations that keep them from paying their mortgage, rent, utilities, or groceries. This includes both children with disabilities as well as adults who are disabled.
Here are some common questions with answers about waiting periods in disability cases:
How long does it take to file for SSD or SSI?
The process can take anywhere from one month to three years, depending on where you live and the complexity of your case. It typically takes up to six months to receive a decision when you initially apply for disability. If you are denied, you have the right to a Request for Reconsideration. This stage takes approximately two to seven months. If you are denied again, you have the right to Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas, it takes roughly one to two years to get a hearing date with the Judge.
What do you do if if your Social Security claim has been denied?
Statistics from the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) provide that those who hire an attorney are more likely to recover SSD or SSI. Therefore, we think it is in your best interest to hire an attorney as soon as you file for disability. Hiring an attorney may increase your odds of winning. At Greenberg and Bederman, we can help you navigate through the complicated legal system to ensure that all the evidence and appropriate paperwork is filed on time. And best of all, we do not charge for any upfront fees or costs, and we work on a contingency fee basis. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid a fee. Otherwise, the Federal law says Social Security attorneys get paid a fee of 25% of your retroactive benefits, or $6,000.00, whichever is less, and only if you win your case.
How long does it take to get a decision after my hearing with the Judge?
Once you have a hearing, it will take approximately two to three months to receive a written decision in the mail from the Judge. The Judge will write a 10-15 page decision, regardless of the outcome, explaining why she or he decided favorably or unfavorably.
In sum, waiting periods vary to get Social Security Disability. We can give you an estimate, but there is no perfect or guaranteed answer for the length of time it will take to get your disability benefits. If you want to discuss the length of time it takes to get your SSI or SSDI benefits with a lawyer for free, please fill out a free social security online legal consultation, or call our Social Security attorney, Audrey Faust, for a free SSI or SSDI legal consultation at (301) 589-2200. To view Social Security Disability Benefit client testimonials please click here.