There are approximately 405,000 residents living in the State of Vermont. Approximately five percent of these residents receive a monthly disability benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA) averaging $997.50 each month. While this monthly disability benefit does help offset some of the financial stress that can be caused by a long-term or permanent disability, that payment does not come easily. Some Vermont Social Security Disability applicants will have to wait years before ever seeing their first disability payment from the SSA.
The fact of the matter is that while the initial application process for disability benefits takes only three to four months to complete, the Social SSA denies approximately 70 percent of the initial claims received each year. While the denial rates in Vermont are lower than the national average, coming in at just over fifty percent, which still means that more than half of Vermont Social Security Disability applicants will need to endure the complex and stressful disability appeal process in order to obtain the disability benefits they need.
When a Vermont disability applicant is denied their Social Security Disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process, they must pursue the complex disability appeal process in order to overturn the SSA's decision to deny their disability benefits. The first stage of this process is called a Request for Reconsideration. In the State of Vermont, approximately 83 percent of these requests are also denied. These applicants who are denied at this stage must then request a disability hearing before an administrative law judge if they hope to obtain disability benefits in the future.
The good news is that nearly two-thirds of Social Security Disability applicants are awarded benefits as a result of a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The bad news is that it takes an average of 412 days for a Vermont Social Security Disability applicant to be scheduled for a disability hearing.
The offices that are in charge of scheduling disability hearings for the SSA are the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The area of the nation that you live in is what determines which ODAR office handles your disability case. The backlog of cases being handled by that ODAR office is what impacts how long you must wait for your disability hearing to be scheduled.
The ODAR office in Manchester, Massachusetts is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Vermont Social Security field offices in Burlington, Montpelier and Rutland. It takes this office an average of 412 days to schedule a hearing for a Vermont Social Security Disability applicant. It will then take another 45 to 90 days from the date of that hearing to discover whether or not the judge hearing your case decided in your favor.
Hiring a Vermont Social Security Disability Attorney
By the time a Vermont Social Security Disability applicant goes through the disability application and appeal process it can be more than two years before they receive their first payment from the SSA. When bills are piling up and the financial stress becomes overwhelming, this two-year waiting period can feel like an eternity. It's no wonder that these applicants wonder if there is anything they can do to speed up the process and obtain benefits more quickly.
The truth is, the only way to speed up the receipt of your disability benefits is by having your initial claim for disability benefits approved by the SSA. The best way to accomplish this is through the services of a qualified Vermont Social Security Disability lawyer.
When you hire a Vermont Social Security Disability attorney to assist you in your disability claim, your lawyer will work with you to complete your disability application and gather the medical evidence that will be needed to prove your disability to the SSA. This professional will also ensure that your application is presented in the best light possible, increasing your chance of an approval at the initial stage of the application process. If your claim for disability benefits is denied, your attorney will work with you through your disability appeal.
While you are allowed to represent yourself in your disability appeal, your chances of being successful are much greater with proper legal representation. Statistics show that applicants who hire an attorney to represent them during the disability appeal process are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves.
If you are worried that you cannot afford a Vermont Social Security Disability attorney, you will be relieved to know that these attorneys work on a contingency basis, making legal services affordable to almost all Social Security Disability applicants. Your Vermont Social Security Disability lawyer will only be paid if you win your disability case, receiving 25 percent of the back pay that you are awarded by the SSA, up to a maximum amount of $6,000.
Click here if you would like to learn more about hiring a Vermont Social Security Disability lawyer and to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.