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Columbus disability lawyer explains the Social Security disability application process
Many Ohio Social Security disability applicants find the Social Security disability process confusing and intimidating. Filing the initial application can seem easy, but after that the process becomes complicated very quickly. The complexity of the Social Security Administration rules and regulations is all the more anxiety raising because the result of the decision about your qualification for disability benefits is so important to your future.
The initial determination on your disability application is made by an Ohio State agency
Filing out the application for Social Security disability benefits is the easy part of the process. You can do it by phone or even online, and you do it by submitting the application to the federal Social Security Administration.
However, even though you are applying to a federal program, the initial determination of your qualification for disability benefits is made by an Ohio agency that has a contract with the Social Security Administration to provide an evaluation of the claim.
The Ohio agency deals with your application by giving it to a claims examiner who, with the help of a doctor, makes a decision based on the application and the medical findings. Neither the claims examiner nor the doctor will see or talk to you.
For some suggestions about the initial application, look at these links:
Most Social Security disability applications are denied at the first step
65% of Social Security disability applications are denied at the application stage. This can be an intimidating and discouraging statistic, and some people give up after the denial. However, it is worth continuing the process because most people who appeal the denial eventually are awarded Social Security disability benefits.
Keep this statistic in mind, and don’t be surprised or discouraged when your claim is denied. Remember, the Ohio claims examiner did not meet you and did not learn any more about your claim than what was in the application. This first stage is cold and bureaucratic, but the process on appeal is much different.
Appealing the denial of a Social Security disability application
When you appeal a denial of a Social Security disability application the appeal goes to an Administrative Law Judge who holds an appeals hearing. This appeal hearing is much different than the approach taken by the Ohio agency for the initial determination on your application.
At the appeal hearing, the Administrative Law Judge meets with both you and your lawyer face to face. The judge listens to you and any witnesses that you want to bring, and learns much more about how your disability affects you.
The atmosphere for the appeal hearing is informal, and the meeting can actually be a pleasant experience. This is not an adversarial proceeding like a court case. There is no opposing side arguing against you. The meeting is essentially just you, your attorney, and the Administrative Law Judge.
The purpose of the hearing is for the judge to learn about you and your disability. Your main task will be to explain your situation as clearly and completely as you can.
Get help from an experienced Columbus Social Security disability lawyer
Although the Social Security disability hearing is informal and can even feel comfortable, it is an extremely important event and you will be well served to have an experienced Ohio disability lawyer helping you.
If you are not already represented by an Ohio Social Security disability lawyer, consider asking for my evaluation of your claim. Give me a brief description of your claim using the form to the right, or you may e-mail or call my office at:
Matthew A. Weller
Columbus Social Security disability attorney
Weller Steele Miller, LLC
8001 Ravines Edge Ct., Ste. 301
Columbus, OH 43235