August 2009

Once you make your Social Security Disability Application through the local office what happens?

In Illinois, the application is sent to Springfield to be reviewed at the Department of Disability Services. Federal employees housed with the State review your medical records, work history and background information to determine whether you meet the definition of disability set forth in the Social Security rules and law. If you are approved the case is sent back to Social Security for payment. If you are denied you must appeal.

Once the appeal is filed the case is sent back to another group of adjudicators in Springfield. They review updated medical information and If you are denied again then another appeal must be filed.

The second appeal is called a Request for Hearing. This sends your file to a place called ODAR. At this stage an Administrative Law Judge will review your medical records and listen to your testimony. This can take up to 2 years for the hearing to be scheduled.

If you are denied after your hearing you have the right to file an appeal before the Appeals Council in Virginia.

Finally, you have the right to appeal to Federal District Court. This does not often happen.

Questions about the process? Feel free to call me, Illinois Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.


Social Security Disability is what is called an insurance program.

You must pay into Social Security for enough quarters in 5 out of the last 10 years to be eligible.

If you do not work enough and pay enough into the system, then you will not receive any money even if you are physically or mentally disabled.

You could be eligible for SSI but it only pays just over $600 per month, and most income or assets you have can reduce your SSI payments.

Need more information on Social Security Disability or SSI?

Call Social Security Lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

What happens after your Social Security Disability Hearing?

Occasionally, the Judge will tell you at the hearing if you are approved. Most of the time it will take from 2 weeks to 60 days to get your written decision. However, there is no rule that says the Judge has to issue a decision within 60 days.

In Central Illinois, once you are approved you usually get paid within 60 days. A notice is supposed to be sent to you to explain your benefit amounts and dates of payment.

Back benefits sometimes take longer because they have to calculate Workers’ Compensation offsets, or SSI.

It is your decision how you are paid. You can be paid with a check mailed to your address, or you can arrange for direct deposit.

I have mentioned before on this blog that if you have mental illness such as anxiety, depression or bipolar you can be found disabled according to Social Security Disability.

The most important thing to do is treat with a psychiatrist and counselor. Social Security does not pay much attention to your regular medical doctor who prescribes mental health medications.

Of course, the big question is how can you get treatment from mental health professionals.

If you have health insurance most psychiatrists will take this.

If you have a Illinois Public Aid medical card the Community Mental Health facilities will treat you.

What if you have neither? You should seriously consider paying for the psychiatrist’s treatment on your own.

I realize that this will be a sacrifice, but you need to weigh the value of Social Security Disability benefits versus paying for treatment.

Questions about mental health treatment and Social Security Benefits? Call Illinois Social Security Lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.