There are fewer than 400,000 individuals living in the State of Wyoming and approximately 12,000 of those residents receive Social Security Disability benefits. The average monthly benefit of $1,052.20 does help these individuals make ends meet, but it is not as easy as to get these benefits as some people might believe. In fact, only about 30 percent of the initial disability claims that are received by the Social Security Administration (SSA) each year are approved during the initial application stage. The remaining 70 percent of applicants must endure the lengthy disability appeal process if they ever hope to obtain the disability benefits they may be entitled to.
The first stage of a disability appeal for a Wyoming Social Security Disability applicant is called a Request for Reconsideration. This stage of the appeal process takes approximately three to four months to complete and the majority of these requests are not granted. Just how many reconsideration requests are denied? It has been estimated that the SSA denies approximately 80 percent of the reconsideration requests received each year. These denied applicants must then go on to request a disability hearing before an administrative law judge in hopes of being granted benefits in the future. Unfortunately, it takes some Wyoming Social Security Disability applicants well over a year to obtain this hearing.
Why does it take so long for disability hearings to be scheduled for Wyoming Social Security Disability applicants? The wait times are tied to the excessive number of appeals that are backlogged in the Social Security system. The agency that is responsible for processing the disability hearings for Social Security Disability applicants is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, also referred to as ODAR. The area of the United States that you live in is what determines which ODAR office schedules your disability hearing and the backlog of that specific office is what determines how long you will have to wait before actually receiving your day in court.
The ODAR office located in Casper, Wyoming is responsible for scheduling the disability hearings for Wyoming Social Security Disability applicants. This ODAR office is actually a satellite office for the Denver ODAR office, which serves the Wyoming Social Security field offices in Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Rock Springs and Sheridan. It takes this office an average of 412 days to schedule a disability hearing for Wyoming Social Security Disability applicants.
Once you have finally obtained notice of your hearing date, you will want to ensure that all of your updated medical evidence is submitted to the administrative law judge before the date of your hearing. After you have had your day in court and your hearing has been conducted, you will need to wait approximately 45 to 90 days before receiving notice of whether or not the judge who heard your case decided in your favor. The good news is that nearly two-thirds of these cases are decided in the favor of the disability applicant.
Hiring a Wyoming Social Security Disability Attorney
When a Wyoming Social Security Disability applicant has to pursue the lengthy and complicated disability appeal process, more than two years will have passed from the date of their initial disability claim to the date of their first disability payment (assuming they are approved for disability benefits at all). It is completely understandable that these applicants wonder if there is any way to obtain benefits more quickly and to avoid the appeal process altogether.
In some circumstances, a disability appeal cannot be avoided. In many cases, however, the services of a qualified Wyoming Social Security Disability lawyer may be able to help. When working with a Wyoming Social Security Disability attorney, the professional you hire will help you with the preparation of your disability claim and will assist you in gathering the medical evidence that will be needed to prove your disability to the SSA. If there are weak points in your claim that need to be addressed, your Wyoming Social Security lawyer will be able to work these issues out with you. Your attorney will then ensure that your application is presented to the SSA in the best light possible, increasing your chances of an approval at the initial stage of the claim process.
If, for some reason, your claim for disability benefits is denied, your Wyoming Social Security Disability attorney will be able to walk you through the disability appeal process, representing you at each stage of your appeal. Your lawyer will also help you prepare for your disability hearing so that you will know what to expect and how you should present yourself before the administrative law judge.
While you are technically allowed to represent yourself in your disability hearing, your chances of obtaining benefits are significantly increased when working with a qualified disability lawyer. Statistics show that Wyoming Social Security Disability applicants who obtain proper legal representation are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who represent themselves.
If you would like to learn more about hiring a Wyoming Social Security Disability lawyer, click here to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.