In 2011 the Social Security Administration (SSA) will receive millions of claims for Social Security Disability benefits. In the State of Rhode Island, more than five percent of the population receives monthly disability payments from the SSA and thousands more are expected to apply this year. Unfortunately, most of these applications will be denied during the initial stage of the claim process. Statistics show that the SSA denies approximately 70 percent of the initial claims received each year. These applicants must then go on to file an appeal in order to obtain the disability benefits they are rightfully entitled to.
In the State of Rhode Island, the first stage of appeals is called a Request for Reconsideration. Unfortunately, fewer than 20 percent of these requests are granted by the SSA. The majority of applicants must pursue the second stage of appeals, which is a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. What is disheartening to most Rhode Island Social Security Disability applicants is that it can take nearly a year to obtain a date for a disability hearing.
Why does it take so long for Rhode Island Social Security Disability applicants to obtain a disability hearing? The extensive wait times are due to the backlog of appeals being handled by the SSA. The agency that handles the scheduling of disability hearings for Social Security Disability applicants is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The area of the nation that you live in determines which ODAR office manages the hearing for Social Security Disability case.
The ODAR office that is located in Providence, Rhode Island is in responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket. It takes this office an average of 342 days to schedule a disability hearing for Rhode Island Social Security Disability applicants.
Hiring a Rhode Island Social Security Disability Attorney
No one wants to wait more than a year to obtain an approval of their Social Security Disability benefits. Because of this, many Rhode Island Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any way to avoid the lengthy and frustrating disability appeal process. The fact of the matter is that the only real way to avoid the need for a disability appeal is to obtain an approval of benefits at the initial stage of the application process. In many cases, the services of a qualified Rhode Island Social Security Disability lawyer can help.
When hiring a Rhode Island Social Security Disability attorney, the professional you work with will help you in the preparation of your Social Security Disability claim. He or she will help you answer the questions on the disability application and will ensure that your claim is presented to the Social Security Administration in the best light possible. Your Rhode Island Social Security Disability lawyer will also work to gather the medical evidence that will be needed to prove your disability case to the SSA.
If your initial application is denied by the SSA, your attorney will be able to represent you in your disability appeal. He or she will file the initial Request for Reconsideration and will begin to work with you to prepare you for your hearing before an administrative law judge. Your Rhode Island Social Security lawyer should prepare you as to what you can expect at this hearing and how you should respond to the questions asked by the administrative law judge. This guidance can make the hearing process less stressful and can increase your chances of success.
While you can technically represent yourself during the hearing stage of the disability appeal process, the services of a Rhode Island Social Security Disability attorney can increase your chances of a successful hearing outcome. Statistics show that disability applicants who have proper legal representation are more likely to be awarded disability benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves.
The good news is that the legal services you will need for your disability case will not have to put added financial stress on you or your family. Social Security Disability lawyers work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of the back payment that you are awarded by the SSA (up to a maximum of $6,000). If you do not win your Social Security Disability case, your lawyer will not receive any compensation. This means that your attorney has a personal interest in representing you to the best of his or her ability.
Click here if you would like to learn more about hiring a Rhode Island Social Security Disability lawyer and to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.