SSD applications are taken at all local Social
Security district offices. They may also be filed by phone
at 1-800-772-1213, or they may be filed online by going to www.ssa.gov/disability/ and following the links to the application page.
Our office recommends that disabled individuals discuss their situation with a knowledgeable lawyer before filing an application. The importance of obtaining sound legal advice early on is underscored by the long delays faced by applicants whose claims are denied and who wish to appeal those determinations (see below). A lawyer can provide valuable information about the claims process; answer specific questions; identify potential problems that are likely to be encountered on the application; and address them ahead of time to enhance the prospects of success and avoid the need for an appeal.
It generally takes Social Security
several months to make an initial determination on new
of that time is spent collecting and analyzing the applicant's own medical records. It is not uncommon for Social Security
to also require an applicant to undergo an examination by one
or more of its own doctors, who will provide a separate evaluation
of the applicant's medical condition.
After evaluating all of these reports, Social Security sends a written notice to the applicant stating whether the claim is approved or denied.
whose claims are denied have a right to a hearing; however,
they must file a hearing request within 60 days of
the date they receive a denial notice. Hearing
requests may be filed in person, by phone, or online using the link provided
Applicants whose disability claims are denied and who request a hearing are in for a long wait. There is a nationwide backlog of hearing requests, and this has resulted in extraordinary delays in processing times. The Syracuse Office of Disability Adjudication & Review has made great strides in reducing its own processing delay, which is down almost 50% from its high two years ago. Despite this, according to the most recently reported data, claimants still must wait for almost a year to get a hearing in Syracuse.