Social Security Disability Claimants Wait Months (Even Years) for Hearings
In Miami, Social Security disability claimants wait an average of 23 months for a hearing after submitting a hearing request. (A hearing occurs after your claim for disability benefits has been denied.) In fact, Florida as a whole has one of the worst hearing backlogs in the country. That’s why you should always ask an experienced attorney to help you through this process.
Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Not all workers are covered by Social Security, including railroad workers and federal government employees, who are covered by separate retirement systems. But you may only qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you have worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security. That means railroad workers, federal government employees and other workers who aren’t covered by Social Security aren’t eligible for these disability benefits.
If you have worked in a covered job, you must then prove that your medical condition meets Social Security’s definition of “disability,” which is based on your ability to work. You are considered disabled if you are unable to do work that you previously were able to do, you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition and you have been disabled or are expected to be disabled for at least one year (or your disability is expected to cause your death).
If, in the future, you are able to work regularly again, you will no longer receive disability benefits.
Applying for Disability Benefits
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. You may apply online, in-person at a Social Security office or on the phone. Processing benefits claims can take anywhere from three to five months, which is why you shouldn’t delay in submitting your application. You will need to include certain information in your benefits application, such as medical records and details about the type of work you did.
If your claim is approved, you will begin receiving benefits for the sixth month of disability. Your benefits are based on your lifetime average earnings that are covered by Social Security.
You have the right to appeal if your claim is denied. The first step in the appeals process is to seek a reconsideration determination. This means that someone who wasn’t involved in the initial decision will reconsider your claim. If your claim is again denied, you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). (And, unfortunately, you might wait almost two years before your hearing actually takes place.) If you disagree with the ALJ’s decision you may then appeal to the Appeals Council.
Reach Out to Us Today
If you are suffering from a medical condition that prevents you from working for at least one year, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Contact a Miami Social Security disability attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for help in applying for disability benefits and, if necessary, in navigating the appeals process.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.