How Do I Get
Social Security Disability?

The Following is a transcript of a speech given by Mr. Mark Jay Grossman, Esq., on the procedures of applying and obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits. Mr. Grossman is an attorney specializing in Social Security Law. He is licensed in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Wisconsin. Before pursuing his legal practice, Mr. Grossman worked for the Social Security Administration. He is an advocate for the disabled and has helped many disabled patients receive their rightful benefits under Social Security Law. The views expressed are those of Mr. Grossman.

How to Try to Maximize the Ability to Obtain the Benefits to Which You Are Entitled:

Mr. Grossman suggests that first of all, use an attorney. The system is full of roadblocks and mine-fields. Always use an attorney that specializes in Social Security Law. For help in finding an attorney that specializes in Social Security Law, contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (1-800-431-2804), they will be happy to refer you to an attorney in your location that specializes, or call your local Bar Association.

Once You Find an Attorney You Should Ask the Following:

1. What percentage of your practice in in Social Security Disability?
2. Ask if they charge for a consultation. Most good Attorneys won't
3. Ask them about their fees. Fees are controlled by statute. Generally the fee will be 25% of what they obtain for you in past-due benefits. Usually it is limited to $4000.00.
4. Ask what percentage of cases do they win. You would want an attorney that is successful far more often than not.

Process You Need to Go Through to Deal with Social Security:

It's meant to discourage you, demoralize you and wear you out. Mr. Grossman stresses to pursue your appeal. There is a process in place, make use of it. The longer your persist, the more likely you are to win. The process begins by filing an application which can be done in one of three ways.

1. File an application at your local Social Security Office.
2. You can call the Social Security Office and arrange a phone interview.
3. You can see an attorney.

Which ever way you do it, from the time you begin the process, you can expect the average case to take anywhere from 18-24 months. During that time frame many people aren't working and having financial problems, but it's the only system there is to work with.

From the time you file your application until the time you get what is called an initial determination will usually range from 2-4 months. THIS DETERMINATION IS NOT MADE BY SOCIAL SECURITY. In every state there is an agency of the state government that works as an agent for the federal government.

Social Security ships your files to them. They make the judgment of your case. These people may have no more than a high school education. They work on the premise that it's their job to deny you. If they deny you and you go away, the system saves money.

When you get your denial, on your initial application, your next step of appeal is to request a reconsideration. Unfortunately it's a new decision from the same state agency that works for Social Security. In almost every case, the person is turned down a second time. People with AIDS and those who needed heart transplants have been denied.

The key is to keep appealing. If you are denied the second time, your next level of appeal is to request a hearing before a federal administrative law judge. This is a crucial step because most cases when they are won are won at this level. However be aware, from the time you file this appeal, until the time you actually get your hearing,
is running anywhere from 12-18 months depending on what state you are from.

You cannot speed up the process. The only way to jump ahead in the line is if you or your attorney can prove to the people in the hearing office that the claimant is about to become homeless or if the person has a terminal illness. When you are pursuing a case, try to do some financial planning.

The hearing before the judge is not only very crucial because it's where most cases are won, but it's the only time in this process, before or after, where you will be in the same room with the person deciding your case. You will sit across from the judge and have the opportunity to explain why you can't do anything anymore in the way of work activity.

You will be judged not only by the medical evidence, but by your credibility and demeanor at the hearing. The judge is appointed for life. They come from a cross section of society. Some more liberal some more conservative. It's important to know what kind of judge you have beforehand.


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© 1998 - 2004 Brenda "Rion" Sewell