Understanding the social security disability benefit claim process : Step 1

SSD Claims App

By Mark L. Newman, Cincinnati Social Security Disability Attorney

If you are thinking about filing for social security disability benefits it is important to understand the process. The Social Security Administration has divided this process into 5 basic steps or stages. The cycle of an SSD claim can be lengthy so having a basic understanding of each step will be helpful. This article will review the first stage.

SSD 5 Step Process

SSD 5 Step Process

Stage 1: Initial Application

This step is the most important because it lays the foundation for  the initial decision regarding your claim and any subsequent decisions or appeals will be based on the information provided in this step. So being thorough and accurate are necessary. There is a large amount of detailed information that you will be required to provide on forms from the Social Security Administration, including, but not limited to:

  • Personal and family information
  • If you served in the military, you will need to supply service records
  • Work history with names of employers, dates worked, salary and maybe even job duties
  • Detailed medical records (details of your disabling condition, doctors and/or hospital visits and exams, diagnosis, treatments, medications, etc.)Financial information such as your tax records (W-2s, and tax filings)
    • If you do not have these, the SSA will pay for and collect all your relevant medical records at this stage.
  • Federal tax filings and copies of W2s

At this stage, it can take up to four months before a decision is made on your claim. The key here is to be patient and if contacted to supply additional information, do not delay in responding to the request. Being slow to respond may delay any decision on your disability claim, and if you do not answer their requests for information, your claim may be completely denied.

Be accurate when completing the sections on this application. Any false information could result in quick denial of your claim.  If you get a notice from the Social Security Administration stating that your application has been “disapproved”, don’t feel rejected. 65% of all initial applicants are denied for many different reasons. In fact, that denial letter you receive will contain information about your rights to appeal the initial decision, which will take us to explaining how stage 2 works.

Next blog post will be about stage 2 of the SSD claim process – filing your first appeal.

By Mark L. Newman | Twitter  | LinkedIn

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Mark L. Newman, Workers’ Compensation and SSD Newsletter

June 2014 Mark Newman Nwesletter

In my June newsletter, I discuss the following topics:

Enjoy reading and please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.

Contact Mark Newman for any questions you may have regarding social security disability. (513) 533-2009 | mln@bpbslaw.com | @MarkLNewmanAtty

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Power of attorney forms and sending your kids off to college this fall

By Mark L. Newman, Cincinnati Lawyer

2014-06-27_10-03-38Did you know that when your child turns 18 your rights as parents change. After your child has turned 18, you no longer have the right to:

  • Go to the bank for them
  • Talk to their doctor
  • Talk to the school about grades (even if you are writing the checks)

For example, imagine your child is in an accident while away at college and gets taken to the emergency room. You call to get an update on her condition only to find out the hospital will not release this information because the child, now over 18, did not prepare a health care power of attorney which would allow this information to be released. From a medical standpoint, if something happens to your child when they’re away at college, as the parents, you have no legal rights.

There is a simple solution to this problem. Before heading off to college, get both a Health Care Power of Attorney and a General Durable Power of Attorney. This will allow you to access medical and non-medical items, such as grades, school records, school bank accounts and the like. You can then make medical and financial decisions when your child is unable to do so. Most people will never need to use these documents. Those who do will be glad that they planned ahead.

Sit down with  your college-bound child and a lawyer to discuss how to protect their health and finances with proper power of attorney(s) in place.

Contact Mark Newman for any questions you may have regarding social security disability. (513) 533-2009 | mln@bpbslaw.com | @MarkLNewmanAtty

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Thinking about filing for social security disability?

Social Security AdminBy Mark L. Newman, Cincinnati Lawyer Social Security Disability

Filing for and receiving Social Security disability is a long process, made more so by the fact that you have medical problems and may not be not working. Although some cases are approved at the initial level, many claims end up at hearing, and the time from the initial application to hearing can extend over two years.

In this recent article there were some interesting and current statistics about the Social Security Disability program. The article focuses on the Social Security’s disability program as it edges toward the brink of insolvency. The trust fund that supports the disability program is projected to run out of money in 2016.

So if you are thinking about filing for social security disability, here are a few facts:

  1. The amount you receive each month will be based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. It is not based on how severe your disability is or how much income you have.
  2. In 2007, the average processing time for a hearing was 512 days. It was reduced to less than 365 days in 2012 but has since crept back up above 400 days.
  3. There are 937,600 cases pending before administrative law judges, according agency statistics.
  4. Social Security employs a little more than 1,400 administrative law judges.
  5. By the time disability cases reach an administrative law judge, the claims have been rejected at least once and often twice by workers in state offices.
  6. Nearly 11 million disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security disability benefits. That’s a 45 percent increase from a decade ago. The average monthly benefit for a disabled worker is $1,146.
  7. Nationwide, approval rates among judges have declined in recent years. In 2013, judges approved 56 percent of the cases they decided, down from 72 percent in 2005.

Contact Mark Newman for any questions you may have regarding social security disability. (513) 533-2009 | mln@bpbslaw.com | @MarkLNewmanAtty

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