Ann-Douglas Tycer, an attorney with more than 23 years of experience representing claimants, answers common questions about the Social Security disability process.
When should I apply for Social Security Disability?
You may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you have a medical condition that has kept or is expected to prevent you from working at any job for more than 1 year. Under certain conditions, you can apply for and receive benefits even if you are currently working. If you have a serious medical condition that affects your ability to work, apply for benefits now.
How long do I have to appeal if I my application is denied?
If your application for Social Security disability is denied, you have to file a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of the date on the denial letter. This is a very firm date that usually cannot be extended. It is very important to keep the appeal process going instead of filing a new application after a denial. If the Request for Reconsideration is denied, again, you have 60 days to appeal and ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Because of these time deadlines, if you have received a denial, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
What kind of information should I get from my doctor?
Not much, at least right now. We obtain our client's medical records and send the physician's questionnaires that can be used as evidence at the appropriate time. The most important step a client can take is to do what the doctor asks and get the treatment he/she orders. It is also important to make lifestyle decisions that show the Judge you want to get better and overcome the disability. Nevertheless, it is important that you tell your doctor how your medical condition affects your daily life.
How long does it take?
While we do everything we can to quicken the process, an appeal can last up to two years or more. We provide the Administration or Judge with records and opinion statements from doctors that the Administration did not collect. These steps can shorten the appeal process.
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