The Timeline of a Social Security Disability Claim

Most people are unfamiliar with the steps or processes involved in a claim for Social Security disability benefits. There are several “levels” of a claim, but most follow the same basic timeline. Your claim starts with an application for disability benefits. You can apply in person at a Social Security office, online, or over the phone. If you hire Hoglund Law to represent you, we will set up a three-way phone call to complete your application over the phone. The three-way conference call will occur with you, our office, and the Social Security Administration. Our clients like the peace of mind that this affords them right off the start, having an attorney from the very beginning stages to ensure that nothing goes awry with the application process. This will also let the Social Security Administration know that you are serious about your claim for disability benefits. After the initial level application, it usually takes Social Security approximately two to four months to make a determination on a claim.  They deny about 63% of the initial level claims.  If you are denied, you have 60 days to appeal the denial.  Our office will complete the appeal form with you and will file all the necessary paperwork to get your claim appealed. It will then take Social Security another two to four months to make another determination on your claim.  They deny approximately 86% of these appeals.  Again, if you get a second denial, you will have 60 days to appeal that denial and this appeal is called a Request for Hearing.  Our office will also complete this appeal for you and file all the necessary paperwork. You will then wait approximately 12-18 months to appear at a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.  If our office represents you, you will again have the peace of mind of having an experienced attorney with you the day of your hearing.  After your hearing, it will take another two to four months for the judge to issue a written decision.  If you receive an unfavorable decision from the judge, you can either refile your claim or appeal the judge’s decision.  If you receive a favorable decision, congratulations, you have won your claim and you will begin to receive Social Security disability benefits approximately one to four months after receiving your favorable decision. Of course, there could be some variations to the above.  These are estimates based on the timeline we typically see.  This is offered as a brief summary of the “journey” of a typical claim for Social Security disability benefits.  Please call our office today for a free consultation.