More than 7 percent of the nearly two million residents living in the State of Mississippi receive monthly disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Each and every year, thousands more will apply for Social Security Disability benefits within the state. Many of these Mississippi Social Security Disability applicants are surprised when they receive a denial of their initial disability application. Unfortunately, during the initial application stage, a denied disability claim is more common than an approved one. The fact of the matter is that nearly 70 percent of the disability claims received by the Social Security Administration are not approved at the initial stage of the disability claim process.
What happens to the applicants who are denied Social Security Disability benefits at the initial application stage? In order to obtain the benefits they may be rightfully entitled to, these applicants must undergo the lengthy and complicated disability appeal process. In the State of Mississippi, the first stage of appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. Unfortunately, the majority of these appeals are also denied. In fact, it is estimated that more than 80 percent of reconsideration requests are not granted by the Social Security Administration. The applicants who are denied their reconsideration request must then go on to obtain a disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge if they ever hope to receive disability benefits in the future.
Many Mississippi Social Security Disability applicants find out just how exhaustive the disability appeal process can be. The initial stage of the application process takes an average of three to four months to complete. If this application is denied, the first stage of appeals takes another four months. This means that most Mississippi Social Security Disability applicants are already eight months into the claim process before even requesting a hearing before an ALJ. Depending on the part of Mississippi that an applicant lives in, it takes another 362 to 559 days to obtain a disability hearing.
What are the reasons for the extensive wait times required for a disability hearing to be scheduled? The amount of time you have to wait to have a disability hearing scheduled depends on the backlog of your local ODAR office. ODAR is an acronym for Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. It is this office that schedules disability hearings for disability applicants. The ODAR offices responsible for managing the disability hearings for Mississippi Social Security Disability applicants are as follows:
- Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Jackson, Mississippi
- Tupelo, Mississippi
The ODAR office located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices located in Biloxi, Brookhaven, Columbia, Forest, Gulport Pascagoula, Hattiesburg, Laurel, McComb, Meridian and Philadelphia. It takes this office an average of 362 days to schedule a hearing for Mississippi Social Security Disability applicants.
The ODAR office located in Jackson, Mississippi manages the Social Security Disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Cleveland, Greenville, Greenwood, Jackson, Kosciusko and Vicksburg. It takes this office an average of 427 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Tupelo ODAR office manages the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Clarksdale, Columbus, Corinth, Grenada, Olive Branch, Starkville and Tupelo. It takes this office an average of 559 days to schedule a disability hearing.
Hiring a Mississippi Social Security Disability Attorney
The Mississippi Social Security Disability applicants who are denied benefits during the initial stage of the application process must wait nearly a year or more to be scheduled for a disability hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Many of these applicants wonder if there is any way to increase their chances of obtaining benefits during the initial stage of the application process in order to avoid the need for a complicated appeal.
For a few disability applicants, avoiding an appeal will be nearly impossible. However, for many Mississippi Social Security Disability applicants, the services of qualified disability attorney may be able to help. When you work with a Mississippi Social Security Disability lawyer, the professional you hire will work with you in the preparation of your disability claim. Your Mississippi Social Security Disability attorney will also help you gather the medical evidence necessary to support your claim for disability benefits. If your application for disability benefits is still denied, your Mississippi Social Security Disability lawyer can help you navigate the complicated disability appeal process.
If you have not yet filed an application for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, you should consult with a qualified Mississippi Social Security Disability attorney before doing so. If you have already filed your disability claim and have been denied benefits from the Social Security Administration, contact a Mississippi Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as possible. You only have 60 days from the date you received the notice of denial to appeal the SSA's decision regarding your claim, so time is of the essence.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Mississippi Social Security Disability attorney, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.