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Why you shouldn't apply online for disability benefits

So you were diagnosed as disabled by a doctor and want to know if you might qualify for disability benefits? The Social Security Administration’s website advises individuals to apply for Social Security disability benefits at the earliest onset of disability.

That’s good advice, as the SSA’s disability examiners have a processing backlog that generally translates into many months of waiting on the part of an applicant. In fact, their website cautions that claims for disability might take from three to five months to process.

Conspicuously missing from SSA’s application checklist, however, is any cautionary advice about the high rate of denials facing applicants for Social Security disability insurance benefits. With about two-thirds of initial applications denied, it’s generally in an individual’s best interest to seek legal representation at the beginning of the disability application process.

Of course, a proactive approach may not be possible in every case. The SSA’s website has a hyperlink for completing the disability application online. It’s easy to see how some disabled workers might click that link, only to be faced with a denial several months later.

Fortunately, our law firm focuses on disability applications and knows that an initial denial does not have to be the final word. Yet the timeframe for filing for a reconsideration of a denied SSDI application is usually sixty days. Don’t delay in contacting an attorney, as the clock will be running.

An attorney can investigate the reasons for denial. In many cases, additional medical evidence can create a stronger case for SSDI benefits. The SSA’s disability examiners usually have a legal, rather than medical background. For that reason, you may need an attorney to present medical evidence in a way that will be persuasive to a legal audience.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Planner: How You Apply”

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