Applying for Social Security benefits is not as simple as merely telling the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you have a disability and filling out a form. It can often be a long, drawn-out process involving many decision makers that requires you to submit extensive documentation of your disability and even undergo additional medical examinations. The Ronkonkoma Social Security lawyers at Turley Redmond & Rosasco have over 25 years of experience representing applicants seeking Social Security benefits and can guide you through each step of this often confusing process.
The Application Process Explained by Our Ronkonkoma Social Security Lawyers
Every application for Social Security benefits begins with an initial application, which you can complete online or by phone. Once the SSA receives your initial application, it will verify the information you provide in it and then refer it a Disability Determination Service (DDS) office, which is a federally-funded state agency that reviews your application in-depth to ensure that you meet the SSA’s requirements for Social Security benefits. At this point, DDS may request that you undergo a Consultative Examination (CE) at no cost to you to gather further information about your condition. Once DDS makes its determination as to whether you qualify, it will then refer your application back to the SSA, which will inform you of its decision.
What You Will Need for the Application
The SSA requires that you submit certain documents that provide evidence of your identity, medical condition, and financial need for disability benefits. Some of the documents the agency may ask you to provide include:
- A birth certificate
- Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status (if you were not born in the United States)
- W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns for the previous year
- The Adult Disability Report, which asks you to document:
- Your medical condition
- Your work history
- Your education and training
- The medicines you take
- Previous medical treatment
- Medical records, doctors’ reports, and test results
- Award letters, pay stubs, and evidence of any workers’ compensation benefits you have received
Gathering this information and completing the Adult Disability Report accurately can often be a daunting task, especially for individuals who are suffering from a severe injury. However, experienced Ronkonkoma Social Security lawyers will be able to assist you so as to maximize your chances of success.
Beware the Backlog
One important consideration to keep in mind during the application process is that it can often take a significant amount of time. While the SSA generally issues initial determinations within about three months, arranging a hearing or an appeal if your initial application is denied can take significantly longer. Recent estimates found that there are currently about one million people stuck in a hearing backlog that averages about 20 months per applicant. Since most initial applications for Social Security benefits are denied, you may be required to wait quite a while for a final decision.
Get Help From the Ronkonkoma Social Security Lawyers at Turley Redmond & Rosasco
If you have been injured and can no longer work, you may want to consider beginning the application process for Social Security benefits. To get started, contact the Ronkonkoma Social Security lawyers at Turley Redmond & Rosasco for a free consultation by using our online form or by calling us at 631-582-3700.