Once a favorable decision is issued normally a person can expect to receive their benefits about 90 days from the date of the date of the decision. After the approval the claim goes to one of SSA’s (Social Security Administration) national payment centers. Before SSA can send you any money they have to double-check their records to be sure you haven’t been working and you have paid enough Social Security taxes in the past to be “covered” under SSA’s disability insurance benefit plan. This is usually just a formality, since SSA would probably not have allowed you to file a claim for disability insurance benefits if you did not meet their filing requirements. After the payment center confirms you are eligible for benefits they will issue a Notice of Award which will tell you the exact amount you will receive and shortly after you should start receiving your payments. If your claim includes a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application, there will be what is referred to as a “PERC” (Pre-effectuation Review Conference) interview with SSA. During the PERC interview you will be asked questions about your income and resources to determine if they are eligible for any SSI benefits.

A disability insurance claim is subject to (potentially) different offsets as an SSI claim. After a disability insurance claim has been approved, it has to go through SSA’s national payment center. SSA determined if there are any offsets, such as workers’ compensation benefits or a public pension, and it will take a while for those computations to be made. It can take about 90 days to receive retroactive benefits. The beneficiary will get a notice of award showing what they will receive each month, how much attorney’s fees were, and the number of retroactive benefits. The notice will also provide information about Medicare. If the claimant is denied benefits, then it will be up to the attorney to determine whether or not there are sufficient factual and legal errors to file a written appeal with the Appeals Council. In that appeal, any legal or factual errors made by the administrative law judge would be discussed. It is important to note that the errors must be considered “outcome-determinative,” which means that a different outcome would have resulted if the judge had not made those errors.

The Appeals Council can do one of three things: grant benefits outright, or agree to the review the judge’s decision and send it back to the judge to hold another hearing or deny the appeal. It is very rare for the Appeals Council to grant the benefits. If an appeal is denied, then that means that the judge’s decision will not be reviewed. At that point, the attorney would have to determine whether or not the case is viable for a cause of action in federal court against the Social Security Administration. I have many years of experience in federal court. I am board-certified in Social Security Disability law by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. I am also licensed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and I handle cases in all four district courts of Texas.

How Would You Advise A Client Who Wants To Handle The SSD Hearing On Their Own?

A Social Security disability hearing is a legal proceeding that affects a person’s legal rights – I would never advise a claimant to try and handle their legal proceedings on their own and without a board-certified disability attorney. Social Security has extremely technical definitions of disability, but some people think that if they have a diagnosis or have had to undergo tests, then that is enough evidence for them to win a case. That is a common misconception. People work with all kinds of medical and psychiatric conditions, so it is not enough to just have a diagnosis or imaging study results; a person must prove that they have specific limitations – and not just through testimony and written statements but through evidentiary support by medical sources. That’s why I usually challenge the opinions of the SSA doctors and obtain rebuttal opinion evidence from my clients’ treating sources.

It can be hard for people who are younger as well, but there are so many technical issues involved for people over the age of 50.

If there are expert witnesses at a hearing, there should be a trained attorney available to cross-examine them. An attorney should also be available to protect their client from errors that the judge might make. A person absolutely needs to have a board-certified disability attorney at their hearing. Becoming board-certified is a rigorous process that requires a certain level of experience in handling disability cases at the administrative level and in federal court (including knowledge of relevant case law, statutes, regulations, public policy, etc.), appeals, and council briefs. In addition, there is an eight-hour exam that must be taken, and recertification is required every so often.

Additional Information On SSD Hearings In Texas

It is important for the claimant to take the advice of the attorney and let that attorney guide them through the process. Some claimants try to take over the wheel and compare their situation with situations that their friends or family members have been through. It is important to keep in mind that what could be true for one person might not be true for another person, so it is always best to listen to the advice of legal counsel.

For more information on Receiving SSD Benefits Upon Approval, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (214) 373-3761 today.

by Carl M. Weisbrod
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law

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