Social Security Disability Claims Process
If you believe that you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you will need to initiate the process by submitting a claim to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Indiana residents that become disabled should file an application for Social Security disability benefits with the SSA immediately.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits in Indiana?
- Initial Claim: The claimant must submit an application for SSDI and SSI with the Social Security Administration. These applications can be submitted online at SSA’s website, by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment, or visit your local Social Security Office to apply in person.
In Indiana, your claim will be reviewed by the Disability Determination Bureau. It may take several weeks before a decision is made regarding your application(s). If your application is approved, congratulations! On the other hand, if you receive a “Notice of Disapproved Claim” from the SSA, don’t become discouraged. Statistics show that the majority of all claims are denied at the initial application. If you have been denied, you will need to begin the appeals process.
How Do I Appeal a Denied Social Security Disability Claim?
- “Request for Reconsideration” Process: Within 60 days from your denial date, you must submit a “Request for Reconsideration” to the Social Security Administration. You can submit this request online at SSA’s website, by calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to set up an appointment, or visit your local Social Security Office to apply in person. If you desire legal representation in preparing your “Request for Reconsideration,” contact Attorney Scott D. Lewis.
The reconsideration decision is typically issued within approximately 90 days of your request. This request will be reviewed by the same state agency that reviewed your initial claim, so it is not unusual for your claim to be denied, once again. When you receive a “Notice of Reconsideration” from the SSA, it will state whether or not your claim has been denied. If you have been denied, your notification will state that if you disagree with this decision, you may appeal by requesting a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge: Within 60 days from the “Request for Reconsideration” has been denied, you must request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Complete and sign the “Request a Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge, Form HA-501” (and all other required forms) and submit them to your local Social Security Administration office. You can download the request for a hearing form and any other forms on the SSA website or call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. If you desire legal representation in preparing your request for reconsideration, contact Attorney Scott D. Lewis.
It is important for you to stay within these deadlines or the SSA may force you to start the initial application process over, again. At this point, your claim will leave the State agency level and will be handled by the Social Security Administration. An ALJ is not bound to prior decisions regarding your claim. Be patient, it may be a lengthy process to be scheduled for a hearing. In the meantime, it is often recommended that you retain a Social Security Disability Attorney to help prepare for your hearing.
How Do I Prepare for a Hearing?
- Finding a Social Security Disability Attorney and Preparing for a Hearing: Hearings will be held at a local hearings office. You should be advised that the laws and regulations that govern the SSDI and SSI are quite complex. Having a Social Security Disability Attorney will benefit you in preparing for your scheduled hearing. Your attorney will assist you in gathering both past and current medical records, to submit as evidence in court. Often, a vocational expert or medical advisor is called by the ALJ to help development of the medical and vocational aspects of your case. Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine these witnesses and will present arguments to the Judge. The simple fact is people that are represented by attorneys, during this process, are approved at a much higher rate than claimants who go to a hearing alone. You should strongly consider retaining an experienced Social Security disability lawyer to assist you.
At the Social Security law office of Scott D. Lewis, we know what will qualify you to receive benefits and we know how to help you navigate the system when your claim has been denied. Indiana Attorney Scott D. Lewis has the experience of fighting through an appeals process, representing claimants in front of an Administrative Law Judge, and will fight for the benefits you deserve. Scott Lewis will put that experience and knowledge to work on your behalf when your claim has been denied.