TheElder & Disability Law Firm, APC
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Navigating the disability benefit appeals process

A mental or physical disability may make it impossible for a person to work, and those individuals may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. However, it is possible that applicants in California and around the country could have their initial claim denied. It is also possible that a reconsideration of that denial may yield the same result. Those who have had their applications denied at the first two levels of the appeal process can ask for a disability hearing.

It is critical that a claimant can verify the onset date of the disability. This should be listed as part of an application for benefits, and medical records will be used to verify this fact. Ideally, a doctor will be able to provide recent medical records to show that the disability is severe and ongoing. A disability examiner may require an applicant to submit to a consultative examination depending on the age of the medical records.

Typically, a person is awarded benefits after a disability hearing than at the initial application or reconsideration stages. Of those who are represented at a hearing, 60 percent win their cases and get the benefits that they ask for. Anyone who has plans on appealing the denial of their application has 60 days to do so, and an additional five days are allowed for mailing in the appeal.

Receiving SSD benefits may make it easier for a person with a disability to pay medical bills or other daily expenses. An attorney may be able to assist applicants by helping to gather relevant information such as recent and past medical records. The attorney may also be able to answer questions about the application process.

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