Social Security Disability | Freedom Disability Advocates & Attorneys
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Do you qualify for Social Security Disability?
Call For a FREE Disability Case Review Today!

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Do You Qualify? Find Out Today!

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Application Process

Social Security Disability Application Claims

Social Security Disability (SSDI) Application Process

Summary: In order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must apply and have the application approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are four opportunities to win that approval. Initial Application First Appeal/Reconsideration Second Appeal/Hearing Third


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Do I Apply On My Own, Or Use An Advocate?

How do I begin the application process? If you are disabled and think you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, your first question may be, “how do I begin the application process?” The process begins with educating yourself


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Social Security Disability (SSDI) Application Process

Summary: In order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must apply and have the application approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are four opportunities to win that approval.

  1. Initial Application
  2. First Appeal/Reconsideration
  3. Second Appeal/Hearing
  4. Third Appeal/Appeals Council

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must have a medical condition which prevents you from engaging in Substantially Gainful Activity (SGA) and you must meet the work history and other requirements laid out by the SSA.  Freedom Disability has helped thousands of people to successfully apply for benefits.  Contact us today to find out if you may be eligible by calling toll free (800) 298-6885 or by clicking here and sending us a request to review your disability eligibility.

Initial Application

3 to 6 month average wait period | 35% of applications from all sources approved nationally

  • Freedom Disability will guide you through the process of completing the initial Social Security disability application and a detailed Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire as well as any additional required paperwork.
  • A doctor will verify information in your application and must be able to confirm that the disabling condition will last at least twelve months.
  • The Disability Determination Services (DDS) located in your state will make the initial disability determination. They collect medical evidence and coordinate additional consultative exams if additional evidence is needed to make their decision.

First Appeal / Reconsideration

3 to 5 month average wait period | 13% of First Appeals from all sources approved nationally

  • Your request for an appeal / reconsideration must be filed within 60 days of the denial of your initial application.
  • Your medical and vocational information will need to be reviewed and updated.
  • A new individual from within the Social Security Administration reviews your appeal and makes a decision, communicated by letter to you.

Second Appeal / Hearing

1.4 years average wait period | 64% of Second Appeals from all sources approved nationally

  • Your request for a second appeal / hearing must come within 60 days of being denied. This moves your decision from the SSA claims processors to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who will hold a hearing on your appeal.
  • You will receive notice and details of your Hearing approximately twenty (20) days before the scheduled date. Hearings are typically held within seventy-five (75) miles of your home and every attempt should be made to attend with your representative (Freedom Disability Advocate). Some hearings are conducted via video teleconferencing.
  • At the hearing, you and your representative (Freedom Disability Advocate) will have an opportunity to present evidence and witnesses for questioning. You may also be questioned by the ALJ.
  • Following the Hearing the ALJ will independently make and issue a written decision on your appeal.
  • It is also possible for your representative (Freedom Disability Advocate) to request a “decision on the record” which is a request for the ALJ to make a decision without a Hearing.

Third Appeal / Appeals Council

8 months average wait period | 3% of Third Appeals from all sources approved nationally

  • Your request for a third appeal / Appeals Council review must come within 60 days of being denied.
  • The Appeals Council will review the disability hearing decision to determine if it was rendered properly according to the law.

Do I Apply On My Own, Or Use An Advocate?

How do I begin the application process?

If you are disabled and think you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, your first question may be, “how do I begin the application process?” The process begins with educating yourself on the eligibility requirements. There are many free resources available on the internet, including this site, for you to read and complete a self-assessment. Or you may have a friend, family member or a medical professional who is familiar with the process and can give you an indication of whether or not you are likely to qualify.

You can also contact a professional representative such as an Advocacy group like Freedom Disability, or an attorney’s office who represents Social Security Disability cases. At Freedom Disability, we work with first-time applicants and those interested in appealing a denied application.

The Advantage of Using a Professional

The advantage of allowing a professional to review your case is that (1) it’s free and (2) if after reviewing your case, a professional offers to spend their time and resources representing you, then you know you have a better than average chance to win benefits through the government. Then you can choose to either apply on your own, or take advantage of the knowledge and experience of a professional.

So what do you have to lose by applying on your own? Applying on your own exposes you to the risk of not winning your case, or not winning in the first round, which may delay receipt of your cash benefits for years.   Backlogs at the Hearing Court Appeals level  are one to three years depending on where you live, so winning your case, and winning early, are critical if you need disability benefits. Freedom Disability has the knowledge and experience to ensure a strong case, the first time.

If you select Freedom Disability to help you through this process and represent your case, there are no upfront fees. We are only paid if you win, and our fee percentage is set by the Social Security Administration at 25 percent of your retroactive award, capped at a maximum of $6,000. This percentage fee only applies to the retroactive lump sum award due you for the time it took to approve your case,  not your ongoing monthly cash award. For more on how to calculate our costs, please click the link to see our page, “What is the cost of Social Security Disability representation?”

Advocate vs. Attorney?

Should I select an advocacy group or law firm to represent me? The performance of  advocacy groups and law firms will vary across each organization but there are a few differences to look out for.

  1. Does the advocacy group or law firm specialize in Social Security Disability cases? At Freedom Disability, our sole business and the focus of our organization is getting people disability benefits through the government. And should you require help at a Hearing Level Court Appeal, you will be represented by one of our Advocates who is accredited by the Social Security Administration, having passed their rigorous test for knowledge and experience in the field of disability (SSDI) representation.
  2. Do you work directly with the person who will be making your case to the government? At Freedom Disability, you work directly with our Advocates who spend time to listen and understand your situation so that they can put together the best case possible.
  3. Does the advocacy group or law firm accept first-time applications? Some groups will not work first time applications. Freedom Disability welcomes first time applicants.

More on Freedom Disability

Freedom Disability is a national Social Security Disability advocacy group headquartered in Shelton, Connecticut. We provide education and representation services to individuals interested in applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Founded in 2003, Freedom Disability was created to bring an innovative new model to professional Social Security representation, which is having a professionally trained advocate assist an individual with every stage of the disability application process, resulting in superior service and greater success rates. Our professional Disability Advocates provide compassionate and efficient advocacy services to thousands of claimants every month.

Freedom Disability represents the disabled community through a team of specially trained Advocates. Our Advocates are experts in the area of Social Security Disability, working directly with clients each day to build their disability case and get them the benefits they deserve. If a case requires a court appeal, our SSA-Certified Advocates will represent the applicant in their local state. The SSA Certification is only awarded to representatives who pass a rigorous testing process by the Social Security Administration, proving their expertise in the field of Social Security Disability. Freedom Disability is proud to provide people throughout the country with the advocacy they need to get the benefits they deserve.

  • There are no upfront fees for our application or appeal services.
  • There are no consultation fees for assessing your eligiblity for benefits.
  • There are no upfront costs for collecting medical records on your behalf.
  • We receive a percentage fee on back benefits for you and your dependents.

Our fee is determined by SSA and is paid to us by SSA only if we win your case.