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Pickens County Social Security Disability Attorney

Applying for Social Security Disability can be a long and confusing process if you do it on your own. The way the system is structured, most people do not make an informed choice to apply for disability, most people who apply do so because it’s the only choice they have. You need a navigator, a Social Security Disability Attorney serving Pickens.

What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a program that will pay you disability payments if you have earned enough work credits to qualify. If you have not worked enough in the last 10 years, you will not qualify for this program, and you have to determine if you qualify for SSI. If you have worked some, but not full-time, you may have enough work credits to get a small check (which you may be able to supplement with SSI).

Supplemental Security Income is a program for those who have not worked at all and those who have not worked enough to meet the monthly minimum payment for SSI. Your assets have to be very limited in order to qualify. There is also a maximum monthly amount that you can get. We also handle Children’s SSI cases which involve different criteria than adult cases, so please check with us on the details involved in these cases.

Steps Involved in the Social Security Disability Application Process:

Step 1:

Initial Application

You apply: (1) online; (2) in person; or (3) by phone

Note: We can help you apply for SSDI online, but you cannot apply for SSI online.

Step 2:

First Denial – You have 60 days in which to appeal and Request Reconsideration.

Step 3:

Request for Reconsideration

You complete a Request for Reconsideration and a Disability Report – Appeal.

a photo of the statue of justice

Step 4:

Second Denial – You have 60 days in which to appeal and Request a Hearing.

Step 5:

Request for Hearing

You complete a Request for Hearing and a Disability Report – Appeal.

Step 6:


You will appear before an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) for the SSA, and he or she will take your testimony and the testimony of a VE (Vocational Expert). In general, a Hearing will last about an hour, and you usually will not know the result until you receive the Decision (much later).

After the Hearing

You will get a Notice of Decision – it will either be Fully Favorable, Partially Favorable or Unfavorable. It generally takes about 90-120 days after the Hearing.

You will then have 60 days to appeal (to the Appeals Council), if you disagree with the Decision. Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer serving Pickens about this decision.

Once your appeal is completed, you will have to wait to get the Decision of the Appeals Council. It generally takes about a year.

You will get a decision from the Appeals Council – they will either uphold the decision of the ALJ, reverse parts of the decision of the ALJ or reverse the decision of the ALJ completely. Most likely, your appeal will be denied, however, if it is allowed, it generally means you get another hearing.

If you disagree with the Appeals Council (in which they uphold the decision of the ALJ), you can file a case in the US District Court (basically a federal court), BUT Be Aware: This is not like filing a completely new lawsuit, it is really more of a review. It is also highly recommended that you consult with a Social Security attorney serving Pickens before you file a case in federal court.

a social security claim form on a desk

In Summary:

You’re more likely to win your case by getting a Pickens Social Security Disability Lawyer involved in your case early in the process (or at least by the time you get your second denial letter) for the greatest likelihood of success. If you go to the Hearing without an attorney and then try to get an attorney for the appeal, you may not find an attorney who will represent you, and your likelihood of success at this stage of the process is much less than it would have been had you hired an attorney early in the process.

One call is all it takes to get your Social Security Disability case on the right track, contact Trey Merck Law today!

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