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Filing a disability claim, not as easy as some may think

Because of the complexities of the Social Security Administration, we don’t fault our readers for having numerous questions when it comes to filing disability claims. As some of our readers may have already discovered from filing claims of their own, sometimes even SSA workers are not familiar with all of the rules and requirements involved in the system.

That having been said, it’s no surprise to many here in Texas that filing a claim for disability benefits can be a long and cumbersome process. Often times, applications are rejected the first time through and require appeals, which can take almost as long--if not longer--than the original application. This week, we wanted to give our readers a heads-up on some things to consider during this process, including filing an appeal.

The first thing to consider is your application for disability benefits. Whether you’re applying for SSDI or SSI, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of the necessary medical documents and your physical and/or mental limitations. Unlike SSDI, SSI applicants will not have to provide a work history but will still need to provide proof of their disability or impairment.

Consider the backlog as well. While the SSA has been trying hard in the last year to reduce the backlog, there may still be a substantial number of claims before yours. Because this may cause you to wait several months for your claim to be processed, consider your finances and whether you have enough income to survive while waiting for your benefits.

If your application is rejected, this is not the end of the world but may require you to seek legal representation and file for an appeal. It’s important to point out that an applicant can make multiple appeals, even appealing all the way to the top where a case is heard by an administration law judge, or ALJ.

Though legal representation may not necessary, having an attorney help you through this process can often reduce time and stress along the way. In the end, it could help you receive benefits faster and without all of the confusion and frustrations attached as well.

Source: The Philadelphia Public Record, "UNDERSTANDING Social Security: It’s A Long, Long Wait To Get SSI, SSD," Michael P. Boyle, Aug. 1, 2013