There are approximately 600,000 residents living in the State of Montana. Approximately 26,000 of them receive Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. This year more Montana residents will apply for disability benefits, hoping to receive an approval for disability payments in a few short months. Unfortunately, that is rarely how the Social Security system works. The fact of the matter is that more than 60 percent of Montana Social Security Disability applicants are denied during the initial stage of the application process. These applicants must then go on to appeal the SSA's decision to deny their disability benefits; a process that takes some Montana residents more than two years to complete.
The first stage of disability appeals is called a Request for Reconsideration. In the State of Montana, fewer than 15 percent of these requests are granted by the Social Security Administration. The remaining 85 percent of applicants must go further into the appeal process and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. While nearly two-thirds of disability applicants will be awarded benefits as a result of this hearing, it can take quite a while for the hearing to be scheduled.
In the State of Montana, it can takes more than a year to be scheduled for a Social Security Disability hearing. It then takes another 45 to 90 days after the hearing to be notified as to whether or not the judge presiding over your disability case decided in your favor. Why does it take so long for Montana Social Security Disability applicants to be scheduled for a hearing before an ALJ?
The reason for the extensive wait times required for disability hearings has to do with the backlog of disability cases in the Social Security system. The agency responsible for scheduling disability hearings is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The area that you live in determines which ODAR office handles your disability case. The particular backlog of that ODAR office will determine how long you will have to wait for your disability hearing to be scheduled.
The ODAR office located in Billings, Montana is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Deer Lodge, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Missoula and Wolf Point. It takes this office an average of 441 days to schedule a hearing for Montana Social Security Disability applicants.
Hiring a Montana Social Security Disability Attorney
It takes three to four months to be denied during the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process. It then takes another three to four months to complete the first stage of disability appeals. Because of this, most Montana Social Security Disability applicants are eight months into the disability claim process before they even have the chance to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. It's easy to understand that Montana Social Security Disability applicants want to know if there is anything they can do to avoid the lengthy Social Security Disability appeal process. In some cases, the services of a qualified Social Security can help.
When you hire a Montana Social Security Disability lawyer, your attorney will work with you to ensure that your disability claim is submitted in the best possible light to the Social Security Administration. Your Montana Social Security Disability attorney will also work to gather the medical evidence necessary to support your claim for disability benefits. If your disability application is denied by the Social Security Administration, your Montana Social Security Disability lawyer will work with you in the pursuit of your disability appeal.
If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied by the Social Security Administration, you will more than likely have to make an appearance before an administrative law judge at a disability hearing. While you are legally allowed to represent yourself at this hearing, retaining the services of a qualified Montana Social Security Disability attorney can increase your chances of a successful hearing outcome.
Fortunately, hiring a qualified Montana Social Security Disability lawyer does not have to cause added financial pressure. These lawyers work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of the back payment that you are awarded by the Social Security Administration (up to a maximum amount of $6,000). If you do not win your disability case, your attorney will not be paid. Not only does this make hiring a Montana Social Security Disability attorney more affordable, but it also ensures that your lawyer has a personal interest in representing you to the best of their ability.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Montana Social Security Disability lawyer, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.