Social Security Disability FAQs

Initial Level Decisions and Requests for Reconsideration

How long will it take for an initial determination to be issued?

The time to reach an initial decision can vary widely. On average it takes 3 to 5 months for a decision to be issued, but it could take longer.

What happens when I get a denial notice?

The first thing you need to do is make sure that our office received a copy of the notice. It is necessary for you to do this because, unfortunately, the Social Security Administration frequently fails to send counsel a copy of the determination. If we don't get a copy of the notice from Social Security, we won't know that a decision has been made on your case unless you inform us. We will need to appeal the decision within 60 days of the date of your denial.

Do I need to get medical records or reports for my representative?

No. You don't have to get any medical records or reports yourself unless we ask you to.

Should I send anything to the Social Security Administration?

No. As a rule, don't send anything of substance to the Social Security Administration without showing it to us first. The only exception to this rule is if SSA asks you to sign medical records release forms. It is fine to sign them and send them directly back to SSA.

Will I have to fill out any additional forms?

Sometimes the SSA will send you a form to complete about your daily activities, work history, symptoms, etc. If you receive these forms, please call us as soon as possible so that we can assist you.

Will someone from SSA call me?

You may receive a phone call from a SSA representative to gather more information about your impairments. It's fine to talk to them, and they may even ask to speak to a family member to get another perspective on what you can and can't do. Be sure to answer honestly and try to provide specific examples of how your impairments limit your everyday activities.

Should I telephone my representative whenever I see a doctor?

It's not necessary to notify us of routine medical care, but try to keep track of the dates of all medical treatment from now on as we may need this information. Also, you DO need to call us if you start seeing a new doctor or other treatment provider, get a new diagnosis, go to the emergency room, are hospitalized, or if there's a dramatic change in your condition (for the worse or the better).

Administrative Law Judge Level

How long will I have to wait for my hearing to be scheduled? How will I be notified of when my hearing is?

Unfortunately it may take more than a year for your hearing to be scheduled, and there's no way for us to anticipate how long the wait will be. The judge's office will contact us to schedule your hearing. As soon as it's scheduled we'll contact you. Then, you'll get a Notice of Hearing in the mail.

Should I send anything to the judge?

No. As a rule, do not send anything of any substance to the judge without your representative seeing it first.

What will my representative do to prepare for the hearing?

We'll review your entire claim file. We'll determine exactly what we need to prove to win your case and how to prove it. We will make sure that the Social Security Administration gets the necessary medical records and other records and obtain reports from your doctors, if necessary. We will meet with you a day or two prior to your hearing in order to prepare.

What happens after the ALJ hearing?

The judge will issue a written decision after the hearing. Depending on the judge, it may take several months to get the written decision.

If the ALJ denies my claim, will Fox & Fox appeal the decision further?

We'll review your entire claim file and the judge's decision, and then contact you with regard to our recommendation for further appeal.

Under what other circumstances should I call you?

If one of the following things happens, please call our office:

• You see a new doctor or are hospitalized, etc.

• Your address and/or telephone number changes.

• Someone from the SSA contacts you.

• You get a notice asking you to attend a consultative examination.

• You get a letter from the SSA that you don't understand.

• You get a notice from the SSA telling you that you are or are not disabled.

• You get a Notice of Hearing and we haven't previously called you.

• You are considering returning to work.