This year alone, the Social Security Administration is expected to receive millions of claims for Social Security Disability benefits. In the state of New Mexico, nearly five percent of the population receives monthly benefit payments from the Social Security Disability program. This year, thousands more will apply in hopes of obtaining the benefits they so desperately need. Unfortunately, approximately 64 percent of the New Mexico Social Security Disability applicants who file claims for disability benefits are denied benefits during the initial stage of the disability process. These applicants must then file a Request for Reconsideration if they hope to overturn the SSA's initial decision to deny their disability claim. For most New Mexico Social Security Disability applicants, this is just the beginning of the battle.
The Request for Reconsideration is the first stage of the disability appeal process. It will take an applicant approximately three to four months to complete this stage of the disability appeal process. The problem is that very few of these appeals are awarded to New Mexico Social Security Disability applicants. In fact, fewer than 20 percent of disability applicants will be awarded benefits at this stage of the appeal process. Because of this, the majority of the New Mexico residents who hope to obtain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration will need to appear at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
It takes most New Mexico Social Security Disability applicants more than a year to obtain a hearing before an ALJ. It then takes another 45 to 90 days to be notified as to whether or not the judge overseeing your disability case decided in your favor. Why does it take so long to be scheduled for a Social Security Disability hearing and how long can you expect to wait?
The amount of time it takes to be scheduled for a disability hearing depends on the area of New Mexico that you live in and which ODAR office will be handling your disability case. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the agency responsible for the scheduling of disability hearings for Social Security Disability applicants. The ODAR offices that are responsible for scheduling the hearings for New Mexico Social Security Disability applicants are as follows:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
The ODAR office located in Albuquerque is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Clovis, Farmington, Gallup, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Rio Rancho, Roswell and Santa Fe. It takes this office an average of 408 days to schedule a hearing for New Mexico Social Security Disability applicants.
Hiring a New Mexico Social Security Disability Attorney
The majority of New Mexico Social Security Disability applicants will wait more than a year before being scheduled to appear before an Administrative Law Judge. Because of this, they wonder if there is any way to avoid the complicated disability appeal process. In order to avoid the need for a disability appeal, you must have your disability application approved during the initial stage of the disability claim process. The best way to increase your chances of an initial disability approval is to retain the services of a qualified New Mexico Social Security Disability attorney.
When you retain the services of a qualified New Mexico Social Security Disability lawyer, your attorney will work with you in the preparation of your disability claim. They will also work with you to gather the medical evidence that will be necessary to prove your disability to the Social Security Administration. If your Social Security Disability claim is denied during the initial application stage, your attorney will be able to work with you throughout the disability appeal process.
While you can technically represent yourself in your disability appeal, it is not necessarily in your best interests to do so. Statistics show that applicants who are represented by a lawyer during the disability appeal process are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves.
Fortunately, hiring a New Mexico Social Security Disability lawyer does not have to put added financial stress on you or your family. Social Security lawyers usually work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of the back pay that you are awarded by the Social Security Administration (up to a maximum limit of $6,000). If you do not win your disability case, your lawyer does not collect a fee.
If you have been denied benefits by the Social Security Administration, you should consult with a disability attorney as soon as possible. You only have 60 days from the date of your denial to appeal the SSA's decision to deny your disability benefits.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a New Mexico Social Security Disability lawyer, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.