Social Security Disability Approval Process
The Social Security Disability approval process can frequently be a long and taxing one, so patience is required when you apply for disability. Here is a brief description of each of the stages of the approval process.
The entire Social Security Disability approval process starts with you filing your application. There are many ways in which you can file your application:
You can call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number 1-800-772-1213. If you have a hearing problem or are deaf, you can even call the SSA TTY toll-free number 1-800-325-0778.
You can also apply for your Social Security Disability online.
You can call the SSA’s toll free numbers and make an appointment to visit your Social Security office.
You can even file for Disability the old fashioned way. You can download and print out the application form the SSA website.
The Social Security Disability approval process
Once you submit your application, the general information you have provided will be verified by the Social Security field officer. Once the verification process is completed, your documents are forwarded to the Disability Determination Services (DDS). This is the agency that will check the medical evidences that you had submitted with your application forms to see whether you are disabled – as defined by the Social Security Administration. The DDS will first attempt to obtain medical information about your disability from your medical sources first. If the DDS officer deems that you have not provided enough information, then he or she will ask you to go for a Consultative Examination to get the additional information required. Once the DDS gives its decision, your claim is sent back to the SSA office.
The Appeals Process
70% of the claims are rejected in the first round of application. And this is where your patience is needed in the Social Security Disability approval process. If the DDS declines your application, then you can appeal this decision. There are four levels of appeal in the appeals process.
- The first stage of appeals is called a Request for Reconsideration. You application form will be re-sent to the DDS to a second assessment. However, this time, a different examiner will look at your case.
- In case the first appeal is also denied, then you can request for a Disability Hearing within 65 days of your appeal being denied. About two-thirds of all applications that reach the Hearing stage get approved by the Administrative law judges.
- If even this appeal fails, then you can apply for an Appeals Council Review. However, at this stage, very appeals are approved, so the SSA allows applicants to file a fresh disability claim while waiting for the decision.
- The final level of appeal is the Federal Court, however, very few claims ever really reach that stage. Again, most people prefer to file a new claim rather than take their case all the way to the Federal Court.