The Initial Stage
When you first file your application, your claim will be forwarded to a disability examiner who will request your medical records, send you forms to complete regarding your daily activities and work history, and possibly schedule a medical examination for you to attend if more information is needed to assess the extent of your physical or mental impairments.
Once the disability examiner reviews your claim, a written decision will be issued either approving or denying your claim. If you are denied, do not worry. A vast majority of disabled individuals are denied at this initial stage.
The Reconsideration Stage
If you appeal your denied claim, it will be resent to another disability examiner who will request additional medical records, have more forms for you to complete and possibly send you to another medical exam. This is called the reconsideration stage.
After a ruling is made on your case, you will receive a written decision either approving or denying your claim. If you are denied and again file an appeal, your claim will then be presented before an administrative law judge at the hearing stage.
The Hearing Stage
During this stage, an administrative law judge will conduct a hearing and issue a decision on your claim based upon your medical records, other evidence in your file and your testimony. This is the only time during the process that an individual needs to appear. The hearing does not take place in a courtroom, but rather at a Social Security Administration hearing office, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, otherwise known as ODAR.
Your Right To A Lawyer
Whether you're just starting the application process or are ready to file an appeal, talk to the lawyers at McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law. We have a track record of successfully handling disability claims as well as appeals. We can help you, too.
Schedule a free initial telephone consultation at one of our law offices in Knoxville, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; or Atlanta, Georgia. To make an appointment, call 865-566-0125 or send us an email. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we don't get paid unless you do.