SSDI Process Level OneSSDI Process Level One

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was created to provide disabled workers money to live on after they are no longer able to work. Sometimes SSDI benefits are short-term, while other recipients of these funds collect for the rest of their lives because their injury or illness is serious enough to prevent them from ever working again. SSDI law is complex, and people are often denied benefits on their first application because the paperwork is confusing, and one mistake can result in your claim being denied.

The experienced SSDI lawyers at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers have helped thousands of people all over the country get the compensation they deserve following a disabling accident, injury or sickness. If you have been injured or sick and can no longer work, we can help you, too.

As we have mentioned, the process of applying and receiving SSDI benefits is not an easy one. There are several steps involved, and each step must be followed to the letter in order to receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

Level One

Level One of the five SSDI level-process is the application for Social Security Disability Benefits. At this stage, you will be asked to complete the initial Social Security Disability application, and in many instances, you will have to fill out a detailed "Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire." At this first level, there is a massive amount of paperwork to be filled out. This is where experienced SSDI lawyers come in. We are extremely familiar with this paperwork and can help you fill it out to ensure completeness, that no errors are made and all deadlines are met.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), a doctor must verify the medical information in your application and confirm that your disabling condition will last 12 months or longer. If you are vague in any way or if you exaggerate your symptoms, your claim will most likely be denied.

The initial disability determination in the first level of the process is made by the Disability Determination Services (DDS) in your state. DDS will secure medical evidence and arrange for consultative examinations if there is not enough information to make a decision. The DDS employees will gather and evaluate your information to make a disability determination.

Level One of the SSDI process may take four to six months, on average. Sometimes DDS makes a determination in as little as three months, but this cannot be expected. Only 35% of initial SSDI applications are even approved.

The SSDI lawyers at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers help you apply for Social Security disability benefits. Please contact one of our Social Security disability law offices today to schedule your confidential consultation. We have offices in many states and probably have one near you with a local Social Security disability lawyer waiting to help you. Fill out the form now for a FREE disability case evaluation. As this evaluation can take place over the phone, you will not even need to leave home!

SSDI Process Level ThreeSSDI Process Level Three

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was created to provide disabled workers money to live on after they are no longer able to work. Sometimes SSDI benefits are short-term, while other recipients of these funds collect for the rest of their lives because their injury or illness is serious enough to prevent them from ever working again. SSDI law is complex, and people are often denied benefits on their first application because the paperwork is confusing, and one mistake can result in your claim being denied.

Many of our clients never would have been approved for SSDI benefits had they not contacted The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers. Our SSDI attorneys and legal teams will work tirelessly to help get you the disability benefits to which you are entitled following your injury or illness. A whopping 65% of claims are denied by the Social Security Administration at the first level of the five level process necessary to receive benefits. At the second level, a staggering 87% of first appeals are denied. Please let our Social Security Disability attorneys help you end up in the 13% of applicants that are approved.

Level Three

There are five stages involved in the SSDI process, and each one presents its unique set of challenges. We just described levels one and two of the five level process, and now we are ready to move on to SSDI level three, which is the appeal hearing level. After a denial at the reconsideration stage (level two), you have sixty days to ask for a hearing or "second appeal."

At your appeal hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will make an independent decision based on the evidence presented. Approximately 20 days before your hearing, you will receive a notice in the mail indicating the time, date and location of your appeal hearing. The hearing is typically held within 75 miles of where you live. You and your representative (if you have one) must attend the hearing.

You will need to submit any evidence you want the judge to examine as soon as possible. The judge at your hearing will hear testimony and may question you and/or any witnesses. The ALJ has the right to ask other witnesses (such as medical experts) questions to get additional information regarding your claim. You will answer questions under oath, so you must tell the truth. Your Social Security disability attorney may also question witnesses and submit evidence. The ALJ will make a decision and you and your Social Security disability attorney will be notified of the decision. In most cases the decision notification may be weeks after the hearing. In some cases, your attorney will ask for a decision on the record, which means the ALJ reviews your claim and makes his/her decision without a hearing.

Please contact the experienced SSDI attorneys at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers today to schedule your confidential consultation to discuss your SSDI case. Let us help you get the SSDI benefits to which you are entitled. We have many offices throughout the United States with local, experienced Social Security disability attorneys, and we can help you the same way we've helped thousands of other families all over the country. Fill out the form on this page today.

SSDI Process Level TwoSSDI Process Level Two

No one ever predicts that they will become disabled and not be able to work ever again. Accidents do happen and illnesses develop, however, sometimes without warning. Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) was developed to provide income to men and women who once worked but now are not able to due to illness or injury. Sometimes SSDI benefits are short-term, while other recipients of these funds collect for the rest of their lives because their injury or illness is serious enough to prevent them from ever working again. SSDI law is complex, and people are often denied benefits on their first application because the paperwork is so difficult. One little mistake can result in your claim being denied.

The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyer’s SSDI lawyers have helped thousands of people all over the United States collect the disability benefits to which they are entitled following their injury. Our Social Security disability lawyers work tirelessly so that you and your family do not have to worry if you will be able to pay the electric bill or put food on the table. Let our SSDI lawyers help you during this very difficult time.

SSDI Level Two

There are several steps or "stages" involved in the SSDI process and each one presents its unique set of challenges. We just described SSDI level one of the five level process to you, and now we are ready to move on to SSDI level two. Level two involves asking for reconsideration once your claim has been denied. Of course, if your claim is not denied, this second level will not apply to you. But since only 35% of initial applications are accepted, this second level will, most likely, apply to you, too.

If you are denied SSDI benefits at the end of the level one waiting period, you have the right to file for a reconsideration or first appeal. But you must file this within sixty days of being denied. If you do not file your reconsideration request in sixty days, your application for SSDI benefits will not be reconsidered. At the second level, your medical and vocational information will be reviewed and updated, if necessary. At the SSDI second level, a different Social Security Administration (SSA) representative reviews your application (a different person does this because a new set of eyes may find something the first SSA representative reviewing your application did not see).

The SSA will send you a letter explaining how it made its decision regarding your SSDI application. Level two waiting period can be as long as five months, and at this level, approximately 87% of first appeals are denied. With a statistic like that, you can see why it’s so very important to have an experienced SSDI lawyer on your side. These agencies certainly do not make it easy to receive benefits.

The SSDI lawyers at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers will work hard for you during the SSDI appeals process. Please contact one of Social Security Disability Lawyers today to schedule your confidential consultation. We have offices in many states with local SSDI lawyers waiting to serve you.

Myths About SSDIMyths About SSDI

There is a lot of speculation about the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the best ways to go about getting approval for benefits. Below, we address some of the most common myths about SSDI and provide valuable information about the system.

An SSDI benefits denial means I cannot receive benefits.

False. Most applicants are denied SSDI benefits at the initial application stage. Please visit our page on what to do in the event of an SSDI denial. You may also contact the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers for a FREE disability evaluation. Fill out the form on this page and one of our team members will call you back. A Social Security disability lawyer may be able to improve your chances of successfully appealing your disability denial. 

My condition will be rejected because it is not life-threatening.

False. Social Security disability benefits are for people who are unable to work for a minimum of 12 months. Your physician will need to show that your disability is expected to last at least a year, and you can collect benefits until your condition becomes non-disabling or a substantial income source changes your financial status.

An SSDI attorney will cost me money I do not have.

False. SSDI attorneys cannot charge you for representation before an outcome is reached. The law states that you pay no fee to a disability attorney unless you receive a favorable judgment. If you are approved for benefits, the disability lawyer’s fees can be transferred from your SSDI back pay straight to your law firm. The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyer's social security attorneys try to make the process easy for you.

I do not need to gather medical reports to prove my disability.

False. The better records you can keep that document your disability at different stages, the better your chances of receiving SSDI benefits.

The SSDI application process is confusing and time-consuming.

False. The SSDI application process can be completed online. An experienced SSDI attorney or advocate can help streamline the process and make sure all of the pertinent information is submitted in a timely fashion potentially saving you much time an effort, which is another good reason to contact us today at the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers for a free evaluation of your SSDI claim.

A simple form from my doctor will prove I am disabled.

The written medical documentation required to prove disability is very specific, requires precise details, and can change from year to year. The SSA will determine disability based on the restrictions your doctor or doctors place on your physical and mental state. The SSA does not take into account the doctor’s opinion on whether or not you should work. A vocational expert may be used to decide whether or not you are unable to perform job duties. A Social Security disability lawyer can provide you with crucial information on how to meet all of the documentation requirements and improve your chance of getting approved for SSDI benefits.

Extra income will disqualify me from the SSDI benefit program.

That all depends on the average amount of funds you have coming in each month. The SSA has placed an income cap on the amount you may be able to receive while still maintaining your eligibility for SSDI benefits. For the year 2009, if you earn an average of $980 or more per month, you may be disqualified for benefits. This is calculated as an average, so if there are short, temporary periods of earned income, you may still be eligible for SSDI income.

Learn more about the Social Security Disability Insurance program and find out what type of benefits you may be eligible to receive. Please contact the SSDI lawyers at The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers to set up a free review of your case.


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