In most states, there is a three tiered process for Social Security Disability:
Step 1: The Initial Application stage occurs after the application for Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are completed. When the application process is complete, a file is compiled and an initial decision is made. This can often take several months. If the determination of the initial application results in a denial, it must be appealed by requesting a “reconsideration”.
Step 2: If the initial application is denied, a Request for Reconsideration is completed and submitted. This reconsideration could also take a few months before a determination is rendered. If one receives a denial at the reconsideration level, this must be appealed!
Step 3: A Request for Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge is filed to appeal a reconsideration denial. Unfortunately, due to a huge “backlog” in many areas, claims can have an average waiting period of 1 ½ years or more before going to the actual hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. There are very few hearing offices that process hearings in less than one year.
Hearing offices are known as the “Office of Disability Adjudication and Review” or “ODAR” for short. When the ODAR offices become backlogged, such as the St. Louis, Missouri ODAR office, often Judges from other ODAR offices located in other states will hear some of the cases. Most recently, the Judges hearing the cases in the St. Louis, Missouri ODAR office, besides the resident Judges, were from Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; and Chicago, Illinois.
For many of our clients, we are able to compile the proper documentation in a concise format and get a decision earlier by having an “On-The-Record Decision”, also know as an “Attorney Advisor’s Decision”, granted prior to a formal hearing.
At Drummond Disability, we understand how important your Social Security benefits are and how hard it is to wait for them with no money coming in. We work very hard to expedite your case!
If you have questions or would like a FREE consultation, call us NOW at Drummond Disability 800-842-0426.