There are more than two million residents living in the State of Oklahoma. Approximately 5.3 percent of these residents receive monthly disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). To qualify for Social Security disability benefits in Oklahoma, you must meet guidelines for disability, income, and/or work credits, all set by the SSA.
Each and every year, thousands more Oklahoma residents apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of the disability claims filed by Oklahoma Social Security Disability applicants are denied by the SSA. These applicants must then go on to appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits in order to obtain the financial assistance they may so desperately need.
The disability appeal process is a lengthy and complicated one. The first stage of appeals is called a Request for Reconsideration. In the State of Oklahoma, fewer than 20 percent of these appeals are decided in the favor of the disability applicant. The remaining 80 percent of Oklahoma Social Security Disability applicants must go on to request a hearing before an administrative law judge in order to obtain the disability benefits they may be rightfully entitled to.
While nearly two-thirds of Oklahoma Social Security Disability applicants are awarded benefits as a result of a disability hearing, it takes most applicants more than a year before receiving their day in court. In the State of Oklahoma, it can take anywhere from 363 to 446 days to receive a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The agency that is in charge of scheduling disability hearings for disability applicants is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, also known as ODAR. The area of Oklahoma that you live in is what determines which ODAR office will handle your disability case. The backlog of cases being handled by your local ODAR office determines how long you must wait for your disability hearing. The ODAR offices that manage the hearings for Oklahoma disability applicants are as follows:
- McAlester, Oklahoma
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
The McAlester ODAR office handles the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Ada, Durant, Hugo, McAlester and Poteau. It takes this office an average of 363 days to schedule a disability hearing for an Oklahoma Social Security Disability applicant.
The Oklahoma City ODAR office is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Ardmore, Chickasha, Clinton, Enid, Lawton, Moore, Oklahoma City and Shawnee. It takes this office an average of 371 days to schedule a disability hearing.
The Tulsa ODAR office is responsible for the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Bartlesville, Miami, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Stillwater and Tulsa. It takes this office an average of 446 days to schedule a disability hearing for an Oklahoma Social Security Disability applicant.
Hiring an Oklahoma Social Security Disability Attorney
Because the wait times for a disability hearing are so extensive and the disability appeal process is so strenuous, many Oklahoma Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any way to increase their chances of obtaining an approval at the initial stage of the disability claim process. For many applicants, the services of a qualified Oklahoma Social Security Disability lawyer may help.
When you hire an Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorney to represent you in your disability claim, he or she will work with you to ensure that your application is prepared in such a way that you have the best possible chance of obtaining an approval of your initial disability application. Your lawyer will work with you to complete the disability application and will help you gather the medical evidence that will be needed to support your claim for disability benefits. If your initial application is still denied, your Oklahoma Social Security Disability lawyer will be able to represent you in your disability appeal.
While you are allowed to represent yourself through the disability appeal process, it is not necessarily in your best interests to do so. The appeal process is complicated and a disability hearing can be an overwhelming experience for someone who is not familiar with the Social Security Disability application process. Statistics show that applicants who obtain qualified legal representation are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who choose to represent themselves.
Fortunately, hiring a disability attorney does not have to cause added financial stress. Most Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of the back pay that you are awarded by the SSA, up to a limit of $6,000. For example, if you are awarded $20,000 in back payments, your lawyer would receive $5,000 of that amount. If you were awarded $40,000, your lawyer would receive $6,000 of the $40,000 rather than the full 25 percent. If you do not win your disability case, your Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorney does not collect a fee.
Click here if you would like to learn more about hiring an Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorney and to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.