Unfortunately, recent data shows that approximately 66 percent of initial applications for social security disability are denied. That number is slightly lower for individuals who file with an attorney. Following a denied claim, the wait process can be draining.
For years, New York was one of several states which did not have a “reconsideration stage” and instead would skip right to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Once a denial was issued, the individual would have the ability to request a hearing before an adjudicative law judge. The wait time for a hearing in New York is between one and two years. Once the hearing is scheduled, the individual and a vocational expert appear before a judge where they review the claim and medical evidence.
However, as of January 1, 2019, New York reinstated the “reconsideration” stage which comes directly after the initial application stage. Typically, the reconsideration process adds three to six months of additional processing time if the claim is denied at this stage. With that being said, the three to six-month wait can bring about a decision in a quarter of a time of waiting for a hearing before an ALJ. In the states which were using the reconsideration stage in 2016 and 2017, approximately 13 percent of individuals were successful in their claim at this stage. The success rate increased for individuals who were represented by an attorney.
In all, the reconsideration stage allows individuals seeking social security disability a chance to correct mistakes in their initial application. Additionally, it allows individuals to obtain representation to assure their application is correct. As stated above, the probability of being successful is increased with representation.
Along with the announcement of the reinstatement of the reconsideration stage, the Social Security Administration announced that it would be working to train additional state Disability Determination Services staff. The training of new staff is intended to decrease the wait times that individuals face after filing their applications. Overall, the Social Security Administration seeks to hire hundreds of new staff members to handle the anticipated tens of thousands of reconsideration claims in New York and other states.
Determining whether you receive SSD or SSI benefits is based on whether you meet the federal government’s criteria on what constitutes a disability. If you or a loved one need assistance in applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, it is important to follow through with the appeals process to potentially receive the money you may be entitled to. For assistance with disability applications and appeals, contact the attorneys at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP. With over 50 years of combined experience between its lawyers, our attorneys may be able to assist you or a loved one in obtaining SSD or SSI benefits. Call our office at (631) 823-7155 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office.