What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
What Happens if a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim gets Denied on a Reconsideration Appeal?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If the case was denied at the reconsideration appeal level, the disability lawyer will submit the second appeal that is available to claimants, a request for hearing before an administrative law judge. This appeal will, as was the case with the reconsideration, be sent to the social security office that has jurisdiction over the case. However, instead of being forwarded by the social security office to DDS, it will be sent to ODAR. ODAR stands for office of disability adjudication and review, although it is commonly referred to as simply "the hearing office."
At the hearing office, the case will generally be put on hold for a long number of months due to large backlogs at this level of the disability system. The backlogs for hearing requests vary across the nation, but it is not unusual for a hearing request to take a year or longer before a hearing date is granted. During that time, the claimant should notify their disability attorney of any changes in their situation (such as diagnosed conditions, new medical treatment, new doctors or procedures, etc). The attorney should further be kept up-to-date regarding changes in contact information should the claimant move or change their phone number.
While the case is waiting to be scheduled for a hearing, the claimant can periodically request a status update on their case. This will involve having the disability attorney contact the hearing office and speaking to a clerk.
Generally, however, the only practical value of this will be to verify that the case was, in fact, transferred from the social security office (where the hearing request was sent by the attorney) to the hearing office. Other than that, the hearing office will usually be unable to say much on a status call. However, if the case has been assigned to a specific judge, the hearing office will be able to verify that.
As the case gets closer to being scheduled, however, the hearing office may send out a copy of what is known as the exhibit list. This is a listing of everything that is in the claimant's disability file (including copies of prior decisions, all the gathered medical evidence, the claimant's original application for disability, and pertinent case materials) which may be referred to at the hearing. For the sake of convenience and clarity, each item is marked as a numbered exhibit. Generally, when the exhibit list has been made, this signifies that the case is much closer to being scheduled, and this usually happens within 90 days of the receipt of the list.
The receipt of the exhibit list by the attorney will also be taken as an opportunity for the attorney to start sending out requests for updated medical records to the claimant's medical treatment sources. The trick, of course, to requesting updated (i.e. recent) medical records is that, by the time that the hearing takes place these records, in order be considered currrent, should not be older than 60 days.
Additional information at: What are the odds of a judge giving you a disability denial?
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SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials