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Filing For SSDI Benefits In Florida. What To Expect

Posted on October 16, 2013

You are a Florida resident and have determined that you cannot work due to a physical or mental disability. What do you do now? The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits can seem daunting and the process can be long and arduous.

You can go it alone or you can contact the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits attorneys at Farah & Farah to help you understand and deal with the process. Either way, here is what you will need to do and what you can expect.

You can apply for SSDI benefits by contacting any of the 54 Social Security Administration field offices in the state of Florida. Or you can simply file an application online at the Social Security website. Your claim is then sent to the Florida Division of Disability Determination (DDD) to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits.

In Florida, the approval rate at this application stage is nearly 27 percent, which is below the national average of 31 percent. If you don’t agree with the DDD’s assessment, you can appeal the decision. There are four parts to the appeals process in Florida.

The first step is called “reconsideration.” At this stage, a different reviewer at DDD is given your case and will look at your application and any new evidence you may have submitted. Nearly 9 percent of claims are accepted at this stage.

If you are not satisfied with the reconsideration results, then you have the right to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The average wait time for a hearing before an ALJ in Florida is over a year (367 days). The wait can be worth it though, as some 48 percent of Floridians get their claims approved at this stage. This is still below the national average of 50 percent. Having a disability attorney at your side is a definite plus during an ALJ hearing.

If you are denied by an ALJ, you have the right to appeal before the Social Security Appeals Council (SSAC). The SSAC will only make a decision if it believes your case was not decided correctly or if there were procedural issues.

Lastly, if you have run out of all of the above appeals, you can still file a lawsuit in a Florida federal court.

As you can see, making a claim and receiving SSDI benefits in Florida can be a long and winding road. That is why Farah & Farah urges you to contact us if you need help getting the SSDI benefits you deserve. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Or simply contact us online.