Social Security Disability benefits provide a safety net for thousands of people throughout Arkansas. When a physical or mental impairment prohibits a person from working, monthly disability payments could be the only protection from a financial crisis.
However, applying for disability benefits is intimidating and complicated. Approximately 37% of initial applications are approved in Arkansas, and many of those take a long time or are delayed. A minor mistake could cost you months of necessary benefits.
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, has over 20 years of working with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Whether you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), our attorneys for a delayed disability case in Arkansas can provide you the assistance you need to move your claim forward. To set up a free appointment to review your disability claim, call (479) 316-0438.
How Long Will Take to Get a Decision on a Social Security Disability Claim in Arkansas
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), you should receive an initial decision on your disability claim within three to five months. This time frame is only an estimate and is dependent on several factors. One common cause for a delay in processing an initial claim is the time it requires a claimant to provide documentation the SSA needs to make a determination, such as medical records and other evidence of the physical or mental impairment.
Under the best of circumstances, getting a decision from the SSA feels like a struggle. If paperwork is incomplete, not completed correctly, or if the supporting evidence is insufficient, your initial claim could be delayed and eventually denied. A denial could further delay your benefits for months while you navigate the complicated appeals process. It is critical to have our Arkansas Social Security attorneys assisting and advocating for you from the beginning of the process.
Factors That Delay Social Security Disability Benefits
There are many reasons why a decision on your SSDI or SSI benefits could be delayed. Every claim is unique, with many differences and many potential problems.
In some situations, a person could have a severe disability that obviously impairs their ability to work. If the condition qualifies under SSA’s Compassionate Allowances, an initial decision could be reached relatively quickly. However, any mistakes in the paperwork or omissions in medical documentation could still delay the process.
The vast majority of disability cases are much more complicated and, therefore, take additional time. For example, an individual could be suffering from psychiatric issues in addition to their physical condition. Processing and reviewing the medical documentation could take significantly more time when a claimant suffers from multiple impairments.
Delays also occur because of logistics – your case could be assigned to an examiner who has an overload of cases or is naturally slower. Factors such as these could add weeks or months to the process.
Waiting for medical records could also slow the determination process down. A disability examiner cannot make a determination until a claimant’s complete medical records have been received and reviewed. Sometimes, your healthcare providers could delay the process by taking a long time to provide the SSA vital documentation. Our experienced Arkansas disability attorneys will typically work with you to obtain and submit the necessary medical records.
Streamlining the Disability Claims Process in Arkansas
Numerous factors are out of your control when it comes to moving the disability process forward. However, there are steps you could take that will help avoid some common reasons for delays.
Most denials and delays occur because a claimant failed to provide the necessary medical documentation to establish that they suffered from a qualifying impairment. It is critical to provide proof that your meet the SSA’s criteria for a disability. This means that your condition prohibits you from doing a substantial gainful activity (earning a living) and that your impairment is expected to last at least twelve months or end in your death.
Providing medical records is only part of proving you have a qualifying condition. You need to keep any appointments with the Social Security office and provide complete and accurate information. Our office can help you avoid many of the common errors and omissions that result in unnecessary delays.
Four common errors that claimants make, and could be avoided, are applying for benefits too soon, providing incomplete information, failing to provide sufficient medical documentation, and not keeping doctors’ appointments or following treatment instructions.
There is No Requirement to Wait Twelve Months to File a Disability Claim in Arkansas
One of the common pitfalls claimants fall into is filing a claim too soon. According to the SSA’s definition of disability, the condition must last at least twelve months. This does not mean you need to wait twelve months before filing a claim.
Technically, you are entitled to file for disability benefits on the day you become disabled. However, that is not necessarily advisable. Remember, your condition must be expected to last at least twelve months. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that benefits are not being paid to people who will only be impaired for a short period, for instance, someone who broke their arm.
Nonetheless, waiting twelve months could not only cost you time, but it could also cost you significant benefits. The SSA will only provide benefits for up to one year before your initial claim date for SSDI and one month of your application date if for SSI benefits. If you believe your medical condition will last twelve months or more, speak with our Fayetteville Social Security Disability attorneys so our office could begin gathering the necessary evidence and medical documentation.
An Attorney for a Delayed Disability Case in Arkansas That Can Help
Applying for disability benefits takes time. While there are factors beyond the claimant’s control, there are many things that a claimant could do that impact the time it takes to make a determination. Unfortunately, many claimants make mistakes or omissions that increase the time or increase the chances that their claim will be denied. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, could help you avoid many of these errors. Call (479) 316-0438 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys for a delayed disability case in Arkansas.