More than 3 million people live in the State of Colorado. Of these three million residents, approximately 2.8 percent receive monthly disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Each year, thousands of new Colorado Social Security Disability applicants will submit new disability claims to the SSA. Unfortunately, nearly 70 percent of these claims will be denied. These applicants will then need to undergo the lengthy and complicated disability appeal process in order to obtain the benefits they may be entitled to. In the first stage of appeals, called the Request for Reconsideration, more than 80 percent of Colorado Social Security Disability applicants will once again be denied disability benefits. In order for most applicants to obtain the disability benefits they need, they must stand before an administrative law judge at a disability hearing.
Fortunately, the majority of Colorado Social Security Disability applicants are awarded benefits as a result of the hearing stage of the appeal process. In fact, nearly two-thirds of disability hearings are decided in favor of the disability applicant. Unfortunately, it can take anywhere from 456 and 493 days for a Colorado Social Security Disability applicant to obtain a hearing before an administrative law judge. It then takes another two to three months to find out whether or not the judge who heard your disability case decided in your favor. This means that the majority of Colorado Social Security Disability applicants wait more than two years from the date of their initial application before seeing their first benefit check from the SSA.
The reason it takes so long for disability applicants to obtain a hearing in front of an administrative law judge is the significant backlog of cases being handled by the offices in charge of scheduling these hearings. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the agency that is responsible for scheduling hearings for disability applicants. The area of Colorado that you live in is what determines which ODAR office handles your disability case. The ODAR offices that schedule disability hearings for Colorado Social Security Disability applicants are as follows:
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Denver, Colorado
The ODAR office located in Colorado Springs is responsible for managing the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Alamosa, Canon City, Colorado Springs, Durango, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, La Junta, Montrose, Pueblo and Trinidad. It takes this office an average of 493 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The ODAR office located in Denver is responsible for managing the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Aurora, Boulder, Denver, Englewood, Lakewood, Fort Collins and Greeley. It takes this office an average of 456 days to schedule a disability hearing.
Hiring a Colorado Social Security Disability Attorney
No one likes the idea of waiting nearly two years before being approved for disability payments from the SSA – especially when you desperately need those benefits to make ends meet. Because of this, many Colorado Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any possible way to avoid the lengthy disability appeal process. Retaining the services of a qualified Colorado Social Security Disability lawyer may be the best way to accomplish this.
When you work with a Colorado Social Security Disability attorney, the professional you hire will review your disability claim with you and will help you properly prepare your disability application. Your Colorado Social Security Disability lawyer will also help you gather the medical evidence necessary to prove your disability claim to the SSA. If, for some reason, your claim for disability benefits is denied, your lawyer will be able to help you file a successful appeal to overturn the SSA's decision to deny your disability benefits.
If your application for disability benefits is denied during the initial application stage, you and your lawyer will need to prepare for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Your lawyer will be able to advise you as to what you can expect at this hearing and how you should answer the questions that will be asked by the administrative law judge. While you are allowed to represent yourself at this hearing, your chances of receiving a favorable decision are statistically higher with proper legal representation.
If your application for disability benefits has been denied, you should speak with a Colorado Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as possible. You only have 60 days from the date you receive your notice to appeal the SSA's decision. Fortunately, hiring a disability attorney does not have to increase your financial burdens. These attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting either 25 percent of the back pay you are awarded by the SSA or $6,000 (whichever is less). If you do not win your case, your attorney will not collect a fee.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Colorado Social Security Disability attorney, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.