What Happens After My Initial Application For Benefits Is Filed?

February 23, 2015

While Social Security is a federal program, at the initial and reconsideration levels, disability cases are generally decided by the states. Once you file your application, the local Social Security office handling your claim will send your case to Springfield (or appropriate state capital), where it will be assigned to an adjudicator. Oftentimes, it can take several weeks or even several months to be assigned for review.

Once the adjudicator receives your case, several things often occur. First, the adjudicator will request your medical records from your doctors and hospitals where you’ve been treated. You will likely receive letters from the adjudicator, confirming that these requests were sent. If the adjudicator does not receive the records, you may receive a warning letter, explaining that if the records are not received within a certain time period, your case may be decided without them.

As a Chicago Social Security Disability law firm, we communicate with the adjudicators in Springfield, Illinois, and Indianapolis, Indiana, on a daily basis.

In addition to the medical evidence, you’ll also receive several forms from Social Security that you will need to complete – often within 10 days of receiving them. One is entitled a “Function Report.” This questionnaire is lengthy and asks questions about your daily activities and any difficulties in performing certain tasks. A family member or friend may also receive a similar form, called a “Third Party Function Report,” asking about your activities.

Another form you will receive is called a “Work History Report,” which will ask you to detail your jobs in the past 15 years. It’s important these forms are accurately completed, as the answers can affect the outcome of your case. For example, if you state on your Work History Report that you were a supervisor in your job, when really you only supervised for one day when your boss was out of town, that error could affect the outcome of your case. Similarly, if you write the wrong amount of weight you had to lift on your job, that error could also negatively impact your claim.

Our Chicago area Social Security law firm has extensive experience with all of the documents sent by the adjudicators in Illinois and Indiana, and we can advise you so that they are completed accurately and in a timely manner.

You may also be scheduled to see a doctor hired by Social Security. Oftentimes, a person claiming benefits will be evaluated by an internist and a psychologist or psychiatrist, or even another specialist. These exams, while often short and cursory, can have a large impact on the outcome of your case. As Illinois and Indiana Social Security Disability attorneys, we can advise you on what to expect at these exams.

Once the adjudicator has the required forms and medical reports, he or she will send your case to be reviewed by a Social Security doctor, and a decision will be made and sent to you by mail. The decision will also be sent to your lawyer if you have one. The decision will either be an approval, denial, or an approval with a date different than the date you claimed on your application.

Our Chicago Social Security law firm communicates with Social Security frequently to make sure we’re informed when a decision is made, and we’ll advise you on how best to proceed based upon the results.

As you can see, once you file your claim, the process can be complicated. Let our team of Chicago area Social Security Disability lawyers be sure that you have the best chance for success. Call today.