The Social Security Administration handles several important federal programs. Many people contact me each month with questions about their retirement, Medicare, and their applications for disability benefits.
Here are a few of the most common questions my office receives about Social Security. Try starting here, and at the Agencies' Web sites, socialsecurity.gov or medicare.gov. If you don't find your answers there, please call my Holland office at (616) 395-0030 for further assistance.
How can I get information about my Social Security retirement benefits?
How long does it take to process Social Security Disability claims?
- An application for Social Security Disability can take from 6 weeks to several years to handle, depending on a variety of factors. For more information, visit the Social Security Disability Benefits page.
- Visit the Social Security Regional Site to find your local Social Security office.
- The times below are merely estimates, but represent what people in the district have experienced over the past few years:
- Initial Processing - 6 to 8 weeks
- Some cases are approved in this first step. If your case is denied at this level, you are encouraged to apply for Reconsideration.
- Reconsideration - 6 to 8 weeks
- Like the Initial Processing, this is all done through paperwork. If your case is denied here, you are encouraged to request a hearing in front of an Administration Law Judge.
- Hearings and Appeals - 9 to 12 months
- An Administrative Law Judge will hear your claim at this level. It usually takes 9 to 12 months to get a hearing. It can take a few months longer to get a decision. You may want to get an attorney or other qualified individual to help represent you in your hearing. If you are denied at this level, you can appeal your case to the Appeals Council.
- Appeals Council - 24 to 36 months
- If your claim is not approved by the Appeals Council, your only option is to file a lawsuit if you want to continue your claim.
What can the Congressman do to help with my Disability claim?
I am always happy to help constituents who need assistance with a disability claim. However, there are limits to what I can do. At my request, Social Security officials will "flag" a particular case and keep me updated throughout the process. This communication can really help a person understand what is happening with their case, so they can make other decisions regarding their life and family.
However, I cannot act as the "representative" on a person's disability paperwork. You may want an attorney to help you with this. My actions will not affect the work done by the person you select as your representative. I also do not have the authority to overturn any decision made by the Social Security Administration.
After you file the paperwork for disability benefits with your local Social Security office, I would be pleased to follow the progress of your claim. If you would like my help, please contact one of my district offices.