Each and every year, millions of Americans submit claims for Social Security Disability benefits. In the state of New Hampshire, more than 40,000 residents are already receiving monthly disability payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA). This year many more will apply. While the initial application process only takes a New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicant three to four months to complete, a large percentage of these applications are denied. While the denial rate of 41.3 percent in New Hampshire is much lower than many other areas of the nation, it still means that nearly half of all New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicants must endure the frustrating disability appeal process in order to obtain the disability benefits they may be entitled to.
The first stage of appeal for a New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicant is called a Request for Reconsideration. Unfortunately, the chances of being awarded benefits as a result of a reconsideration request are even lower than obtaining an approval of an initial disability claim. In fact, more than 60 percent of New Hampshire reconsideration requests are denied by the SSA. These applicants must then go on to request a hearing before an administrative law judge in order to overturn the SSA's decision to deny their disability benefits.
While nearly two-thirds of New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicants will obtain benefits as a result of a disability hearing, it can take more than a year for an applicant to be scheduled for a hearing before an administrative law judge. It then takes another 45 to 90 days after the date of this hearing to receive notice regarding whether or not the judge presiding over your case decided in your favor.
Why are the wait times for disability hearings so extensive? The reason has to do with the backlog of cases being appealed by New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicants. The agency in charge of scheduling the disability hearings for the SSA is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The area that you live in determines which ODAR office is in charge of your case and how long you will have to wait for your case to be heard.
The ODAR office located in Manchester, New Hampshire is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Concord, Keene, Littleton, Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth. It takes this office an average of thirteen months to schedule a hearing for a New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicant.
Hiring a New Hampshire Social Security Disability Attorney
New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicants who are denied benefits during the initial stage of the application process must wait for more than a year before being scheduled for a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge. It is understandable that no one wants to wait such extensive periods of time before being awarded the disability benefits they so desperately need. Many of these applicants wonder if there is any way to increase their chances of an approval at the initial stage of the disability claim process, thereby avoiding the need for a disability appeal.
The fact of the matter is that hiring a qualified New Hampshire Social Security Disability lawyer may increase your chances of obtaining disability benefits from the SSA. Statistics show that applicants who have legal representation during the disability hearing process are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves.
When you hire a New Hampshire Social Security Disability attorney to work on your disability case, he or she will help you in the preparation of your disability application. They can ensure that your application is filled out properly and that your claim is presented in the best light possible to the SSA. Your lawyer will also help you gather the medical evidence that will be necessary to support your disability claim.
If, for some reason, your initial application is denied by the SSA, your New Hampshire Social Security Disability lawyer will be able to represent you in your disability appeal. During this process your lawyer will file a Request for Reconsideration and will begin to prepare you for your disability hearing. While you will have to wait more than a year for your hearing to be scheduled, the good news is that nearly two-thirds of appeals are decided in favor of the disability applicant at this stage of the appeal process.
Fortunately, hiring a New Hampshire Social Security Disability attorney does not have to cost an arm and a leg. These lawyers work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of the back payment you are awarded by the SSA, up to an amount of $6,000. If you do not win your disability case, your lawyer will not be compensated. This makes hiring a qualified attorney affordable to almost every New Hampshire Social Security Disability applicant.
Click here if you would like to learn more about hiring a New Hampshire Social Security Disability lawyer and to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.