Disability Legal Process

The Social Security disability process can be lengthy and complicated – it’s common to feel overwhelmed about where to start. The attorneys at Woodruff & Mathis have put together a basic step-by-step list for beginning the process.

Step 1

Filing the Initial Application. If your initial application is filed correctly, your waiting period for a decision is 3–6 months and denial rates are very high. If you are denied, you have 60 days from the date of your denial letter to file a reconsideration. You can file online at ssa.gov. It can also be done at your local Social Security office. There are 8 locations in Maine:

  • Auburn
  • Portland
  • Augusta
  • Saco
  • Bangor
  • Presque Isle
  • Rockland
  • Waterville

Speaking with Woodruff and Mathis during this step makes sense because getting on the right track early can make a big difference in the end. Almost every case has room for improvement and the longer you have, the better the chances of making those improvements. We can also help you if you are simply overwhelmed by the process.

Step 2

Reconsideration. Your information on the appeal will be sent to Disability Determination Services, where the original decision was made. At this stage, you are asking a decision-maker to review the initial decision and consider changing that decision.

Denial rates here are also very high. If you are denied again, you have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to file an appeal to see an Administrative Law Judge.

Speaking with Woodruff and Mathis at this point becomes more important. You have already been denied and you are now 3-6 months into the process. The clock is ticking on addressing weaknesses in your evidence.

Step 3

Request for Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge. This can be done at the same 8 locations listed above. Information at this stage will be sent to the Administrative Law Court. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to present your case to an Administrative Law Judge.

Once your appeal is successfully filed, you will receive a letter telling you that your appeal has been received. You will then wait about 1 year from the date of that letter for a court date.

Speaking with Woodruff and Mathis at this point is very important. You now know that you will be going to court, and having an experienced attorney at your side can be the difference between winning and losing.

However, most of the work is done before you enter the courtroom. We will look at the evidence, identify weaknesses and work with you to strengthen those weaknesses before it is too late. Do NOT wait until you have a court date before calling us! If you wait until you have a court date, we will probably not have enough time to do the work that is required.

To get started on the Social Security disability process, please contact the attorneys at Woodruff & Mathis today.