Utah is home to some 1.6 million residents. Of these residents, approximately 2.5 percent receive Social Security Disability benefits. Thousands of Utah residents will file new Social Security Disability claims this year. If the past is any indication of the rate of future approvals, more than half of these claims are rejected by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The Utah Social Security Disability applicants who are denied benefits during the first stages of the application process will have to go on to file an appeal if they wish to receive the benefits that they may be entitled to. The first step of the appeal process is called a Request for Reconsideration. In the State of Utah, almost eighty-eight percent of reconsideration requests are denied by the SSA. This means that fewer than 20 percent of applicants will be awarded benefits at the initial stage of their disability appeal. The applicants who are not awarded their reconsideration request must appear before an administrative law judge if they wish to pursue their disability appeal.
The good news is that nearly two-thirds of Utah Social Security Disability applicants will be awarded benefits at the hearing stage of the disability appeal process. The downside is that it can often take over a year before you are able to appear before an administrative laws judge to have your case heard. Additionally, Utah residents will often have to wait two to three months to find out if the judge overseeing their disability case decided in their favor.
The reason the appeal process takes so long is due to the backlog of cases being handled by the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). This agency is responsible for the scheduling of disability hearings. Needless to say, this agency is often inundation by a significant backlog of disability claims awaiting a hearing date in front of an administrative law judge. The area of Utah that you live in determines which ODAR office will handle your disability case and, therefore, determines how long you will have to wait for your hearing to be scheduled. The ODAR office that handles the hearings for Utah Social Security Disability applicants is:
- Salt Lake City, Utah
This office is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for the Social Security field offices in Cedar City, Murray, Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake City and St. George. It takes this office an average of 339 days to schedule a disability hearing for Utah Social Security Disability applicants.
Obtaining a Utah Social Security Disability Attorney
While the initial disability claim process only takes Utah Social Security Disability applicants an average of three to four months to complete, the majority of applicants are not approved for disability benefits without the need for a disability appeal. For this reason, it takes most Utah Social Security Disability applicants more than a year to see their first disability payment from the SSA.
Most Utah Social Security Disability applicants wish to avoid the lengthy and complicated disability appeal process. In order to avoid a disability appeal, you must be approved for benefits during the initial stage of the application process. While this will not be possible for every disability applicant, some applicants may be able to avoid an appeal by retaining the services of a Utah Social Security Disability attorney.
When you hire a Utah Social Security Disability attorney, your attorney will work with you to prepare your disability application. He or she will ensure that your application for disability benefits is filled out properly and that you have all of the medical evidence needed to support your claim for disability benefits. Then if, for some reason, your claim for benefits is denied, your Utah Social Security Disability lawyer will be able to help you navigate the disability appeal process. This can dramatically improve your chances of filing a successful appeal with the SSA.
It is important to understand that while you are allowed to represent yourself in your disability appeal, the statistics show that doing so is not in your best interests. Your chances of successfully obtaining disability benefits are significantly increased with proper legal representation.
If you have not yet applied for Social Security Disability benefits, you should consider hiring a Utah Social Security Disability lawyer before doing so. The guidance and advice of a qualified disability attorney can help you to avoid the stress and complication of a long and complex disability appeal. If you have already been denied benefits at the initial stage of the application process, you should consult with a Utah Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as possible to increase your chances of successfully appealing the SSA's decision to deny your disability claim.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Utah Social Security Disability attorney, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.