Social Security Disability can be a lifeline for those who have disabling medical conditions and need financial support. When you submit your application for benefits, how and when can you expect to receive a decision on your claim?
Once a medical determination has been made in your Social Security Disability claim, you will receive a benefits letter. The Social Security Administration tries to send a Notice of Award or a Notice of Denial promptly after a decision is made in an applicant’s case, so it usually takes a matter of days. Your next steps will be determined by whether you were approved for a monthly disability benefit or denied.
If You Are Initially Approved for Disability Benefits
If you are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in New Jersey at the initial claim level, you can expect to receive a disability award letter within a few days unless your case has mitigating factors such as workers’ compensation or disability awards that need to be inputted manually by claims representatives. This Notice of Award specifies the amount of your monthly benefit and any retroactive payments as well as when you can expect your first benefit payment via check or direct deposit.
Supplemental Security Income disability or concurrent disability claims (Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income disability) are always sent back to the local Social Security office for a PERC, which is a follow-up interview to review your income and resources in order to determine if you are eligible to continue receiving a monthly disability benefit or if you are entitled to SSI benefits during the five-month waiting period.
Many disability applicants, however, first receive a letter indicating that they have met the medical requirements for disability, but that their claim is being sent back to their local Social Security office to determine whether they are still not working above their SGA level and still meet the nonmedical requirements for Social Security Disability or SSI.
- For SSDI, the nonmedical issues include whether you worked recently and paid into Social Security.
- For SSI, nonmedical issues include determining your earned and unearned income and your assets.
Upon finding that you still meet Social Security’s eligibility requirements, it will send you a favorable Notice of Award.
If Your Disability Application is Denied
In the case of a denial, you should get a notice almost immediately, as you only have 65 days from the date of the denial to appeal the decision. This letter, called a Notice of Denial, will include information about your right to appeal and make a request for a hearing.
You aren’t the only person whose initial disability claim has been denied: about 65-70% of all initial disability applications are denied. According to the Social Security Administration, the final disability award rate has fluctuated over time: in 2020, 648,121 applicants with disabling medical conditions were approved for benefits, which is a drop of 10% from the 723,858 approved in 2019.
Applying to the Social Security Administration for reconsideration is your best option. You should first address the reason for the denial letter: common ones include insufficient documentation in your medical records, perceived failure to follow your doctor’s instructions, and the belief that your disability period won’t last for longer than 12 months, which is one of the criteria for acceptance. Then you should discuss your case with a New Jersey SSDI attorney.
At Bross & Frankel P.A., we can help you appeal a denial by collecting supporting evidence and documentation for your case and presenting a compelling argument that you are unable to work. We will also help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your claim and guide you through each level of appeal, which may include a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, an appeal of the hearing decision to a review board, and an appeal to a federal court.
What Happens After Your Disability Appeal?
After appealing your case and appearing before a judge at a hearing office, you will receive a Notice of Decision from the Office of Hearings Operations.
If you are approved at the ALJ (administrative law judge) disability hearing, the award letter may be delayed a bit because the judge’s decision must first be prepared, then sent to the payment center for processing.
When you are denied disability benefits after a hearing, you will receive a “Notice of Decision – Unfavorable” that will explain the denial, provide the records that were used to determine the decision, and provide a list of the impairments that were assessed. This letter will also inform you of your right to appeal to the Appeals Council. Your Social Security Disability lawyer will explain your options and the steps involved with each one.
Talk to a New Jersey Disability Lawyer Today
Unfortunately, obtaining SSD benefits can be a bit of a challenge. The Social Security Administration may deny your application, making it difficult to get the monthly benefit you need to pay your rent, bills, and medical expenses.
At Bross & Frankel P.A., we understand how critical SSD benefits are to you. We also know how frustrating it can be to deal with denials when you can’t work and need that monthly disability payment. It is for this reason that we fight to get New Jersey residents the disability benefits they deserve.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can assist you with applying for SSD benefits or appealing a denied claim. Call us at one of our local offices or get in touch using our online form.
Rich Frankel is the managing partner of Bross & Frankel. He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars. He has focused exclusively on disability and social security benefits since 2005.
Mr. Frankel joined what is now Bross & Frankel after having watched his father struggle with disability, fighting a lengthy illness. Mr. Frankel founded the firm’s veteran’s law practice and substantially grew the social security disability practice, focusing Bross & Frankel’s ability to fight for all of the disability benefits available to his clients.
Mr. Frankel additionally fights for clients in court, obtaining frequent victories in Social Security appeals and against insurance companies in Federal court.