Approximately 3.5 percent of the residents living in the State of North Dakota receive monthly disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). This year, even more North Dakota workers will face long-term or permanent disabilities and will file additional North Dakota Social Security Disability claims. Unfortunately, the majority of these claims are likely to be denied by the SSA. Historically, the SSA has only awarded approximately 30 percent of the disability claims received each year – and it gets worse. The first stage of appeals, which is called a Request for Reconsideration, has an even higher denial rate. In fact, it is estimated that fewer than 20 percent of these initial appeals are decided in the favor of the disability applicant.
The second stage of appeals, which involves a disability hearing before an administrative law judge, is when most applicants will be awarded the disability benefits they are entitled to. In fact, it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of disability hearings are decided in the favor of the disability applicant. The only problem is, it can take more than a year to actually be scheduled for this hearing and get your day in court.
The reason for the extensive wait times for disability hearings is the significant backlog of disability appeals being handled by the SSA. The agency that is in charge of scheduling disability hearings is known as ODAR, which stands for the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The area of the nation that you live in determines which ODAR office handles your disability case and how long you will have to wait to have your hearing scheduled.
The ODAR office located in Fargo is responsible for scheduling the hearings for the Social Security field offices in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grafton, Grand Forks, Grafton, Jamestown and Minot. It takes this office an average of 405 days to schedule a hearing for a North Dakota Social Security Disability applicant. It then takes another 45 to 90 days to receive notice of whether or not the administrative law judge presiding over your case decided in your favor.
Hiring a North Dakota Social Security Disability Attorney
It is no surprise that North Dakota Social Security Disability applicants do not want to wait more than a year before being scheduled for a disability hearing. They definitely do not want to wait two years before receiving their first disability check from the SSA. Because of this, many North Dakota Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any way to avoid the complicated disability appeal process altogether.
For most North Dakota Social Security Disability applicants to avoid the disability appeal process, they must be approved for benefits during the initial stage of the application process. In many cases, the services of a qualified North Dakota Social Security Disability lawyer can help achieve this goal.
When you hire a North Dakota Social Security Disability attorney to assist you in your disability claim, he or she will work with you to complete the claim forms that are required by the SSA. Your attorney will ensure that the forms are filled out properly and will help you gather the medical evidence that will be needed to win your disability case. If, for some reason, your initial application is denied by the SSA, your North Dakota Social Security lawyer will be able to represent you through the disability appeal process and can prepare you for your disability hearing.
While you are allowed to represent yourself in your disability appeal, it may not be in your best interests to try and do so. Statistics show that applicants who retain legal representation are more likely to be awarded disability benefits as a result of their hearing than applicants who choose to represent themselves.
Fortunately, hiring a North Dakota Social Security Disability lawyer does not have to be cost prohibitive. These attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of the back pay you are awarded by the SSA, up to a maximum amount of $6,000. For example, if you are awarded $10,000 in back pay from the SSA, your disability lawyer will receive $2,500 of that amount. If you are awarded $40,000 in back pay, the North Dakota Social Security lawyer you hire will only receive $6,000 rather than the full 25 percent of your awarded back pay. If you do not win your disability case, your lawyer receives no compensation. Not only does this make hiring an attorney affordable, it also gives your lawyer a personal interest in winning your disability case for you.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a North Dakota Social Security Disability lawyer, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.