The application and appeal process for Social Security Disability benefits in Michigan can be both complex and lengthy, making the experience especially overwhelming when going through the steps alone. However, there are many factors to keep in mind that could increase your chances of being approved, even at the initial application stage. At the very least, these factors could make the experience less stressful, resulting in a quicker determination. Here are some suggestions to help simplify and expedite the Social Security application process.
Complete & Accurate Evidence
One of the most common reasons for a denial at the initial application stage; is incomplete or questionable paperwork. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to consider medical evidence when deciding your claim, they do not always make a decision based off all of your relevant medical evidence. Medical evidence could be treatment notes from your primary care physician or specialist, emergency room visit reports, test results, and medication lists, to name a few. SSA will request these vital records regarding your condition during the relevant timeframe of disability. However, oftentimes, SSA fails to obtain these records for a variety of reasons – SSA representative misunderstood the information you reported, the medical facility misplaced or failed to promptly fulfill the request, failure to follow-up on a request, failing to mention or update a facility with SSA, etc. Alternatively, some facilities require special authorizations before releasing any evidence; sometimes applicants are unaware of this or fail to sign authorizations required to obtain records.
Regardless of the reason, SSA could make a decision on your claim without every piece of crucial evidence which could lead to a denial. Having an attorney on your side to assist with the application process and work with SSA representatives can ensure your file is complete. Moreover, our attorneys draft Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Questionnaires to be completed by doctors or treating professionals outlining any work-related limitations the client has as a result of their impairments. These documents can be especially helpful at the initial application stage as additional evidence in support of a claim for disability.
Right to Appeal
Once a denial is issued, the next step is an appeal for further consideration of your claim. At the initial application level, SSA provides a 65 day deadline to appeal from the date on the denial letter. Once the appeal is filed, the wait period; for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge begins. Moreover, consulting with an experienced attorney specializing in Social Security benefits is recommended, especially as other documents may need to be filed depending on the circumstances (such as a request for re-consideration, waivers, etc.). In fact, the most recent issue of NOSSCR Social Security Forum reveals that the backlog on hearing processing times are continuing to increase, meaning longer wait times for applicants who generally are unable to work and desperately need these benefits.
Consult with Disability Attorneys Of Michigan
Our attorneys at Disability Attorneys of Michigan strictly specialize in disability benefits – from the initial application stage to appeals at the U.S. District Court level for Social Security claims. Our attorneys understand the process and know what it takes to put you in the best position to be awarded the benefits you deserve. We will help ensure your application is complete and updated, draft and submit completed RFC Questionnaires on your behalf, and communicate with your SSA representative along the way. In the event you are denied, our highly skilled and dedicated attorneys can help represent you at your hearing which could entail requesting updated medical evidence, writing legal briefs, preparing you on what to expect, cross-examination of a vocational expert, advocating on your behalf, and more. Call us today at 888-684-4082 for your free consultation.
 For example, the following numbers represent the average processing time in days for the respective offices: Mt Pleasant, Michigan: 542; Livonia, Michigan: 490; Oak Park, Michigan: 481; Grand Rapids, Michigan: 476. In fact, the Lansing hearing office has the shortest wait period in Michigan of 386 days. NOSSCR, Volume 37, Number 9, September, 2015.