There are approximately 850,000 residents living in the State of Maine. Nearly 7 percent of these residents receive monthly Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. More Maine Social Security Disability applicants will try to obtain benefits each and every year, and each year more there will be more applicants who are denied than approved. In fact, nearly 70 percent of the disability applications received by the Social Security Administration are denied during the initial stage of the application process. These applicants will then have to file an appeal in order to obtain the help they need from the Social Security Administration.
The initial disability claim process takes three to four months to complete, but this is only the beginning of the battle. Because most disability applicants are denied at this stage of the process, the majority of Maine Social Security Disability applicants will need to file a Request for Reconsideration, which is the first stage of the disability appeal process. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration denies more than 80 percent of these requests as well.
This does not mean that it will be nearly impossible for a Maine Social Security Disability applicant to obtain disability benefits. Most will, however, have to appear before an Administrative Law Judge at a disability hearing before being awarded the benefits they are entitled to. The problem is, it can take almost a year from the date of the request for a Maine Social Security Disability applicant to be scheduled for a disability hearing.
Why does it take so long for disability hearings to be scheduled? The extensive wait times are due to the backlog of appeals being handled by the Social Security Administration. The agency responsible for scheduling disability hearings is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, also known as ODAR. The area that you live in determines which ODAR office schedules your hearing before an ALJ. It also impacts how long you will have to wait before being scheduled for a disability hearing.
- Portland, Maine
The ODAR office located in Portland, Maine is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Portland, Presque Isle, Rockland, Rumford, Saco and Waterville. It takes this office an average of 314 days to schedule a hearing for a Maine Social Security Disability applicant.
Hiring a Maine Social Security Disability Attorney
While it does not take as much time to be scheduled for a disability hearing in the State of Maine as it does in other areas of the nation, many Maine Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any way to avoid the lengthy and complex disability appeal process. While not all disability applicants will avoid a denial of their initial disability claim, retaining the services of a qualified Maine Social Security Disability lawyer may be able to increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision.
When you hire a Maine Social Security Disability attorney to assist you in your disability application, they will help you complete the application paperwork and will assist you in gathering the medical evidence that will be needed to support your disability claim. Your Maine Social Security Disability lawyer will ensure that your claim is prepared properly and submitted to the Social Security Administration in the best possible light. If, for some reason, your application for benefits is denied, your Maine Social Security Disability attorney will be able to represent you through the complicated disability appeal process.
If your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, chances are that you will have to appear before an Administrative Law Judge in order to obtain the benefits you may be entitled to. While the Social Security Administration does allow you to represent yourself at this hearing, it is not necessarily in your best interest to do so. Statistics show that you are more likely to be awarded benefits as a result of this hearing if you are represented by a qualified Maine Social Security Disability attorney.
Many Maine Social Security Disability applicants worry that they will not be able to afford the services of a qualified disability lawyer. This is not the case. Most Social Security attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of the back pay you are awarded by the Social Security Administration or $6,000 (whichever is less). For example, if the Social Security Administration awards you $20,000 in back payments, your Maine Social Security Disability lawyer will receive $5,000 of that amount. If you are awarded $40,000, your lawyer would only receive $6,000 instead of the full 25 percent. If you do not win your case for disability benefits, your lawyer does not receive compensation.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Maine Social Security Disability lawyer, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.