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Redelman Law LLC

Social Security Disability Law Indianapolis and Surrounding Areas
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Information about Social Security Disability and SSI



Getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits can be a difficult process.  There is no partial or temporary disability in Social Security Disability.  Your disability must be permanent and prevent the performance of essentially all full time work.  Your age, education, and work experience factor into the determination as well.   


The first step is to actually apply for benefits.  This is done through the Social Security Administration.  You can apply online at or by contacting your local Social Security office and following their instructions. 


When you apply, you will need the following information:

  • The dates of marriages and divorces

  • Names and dates of birth of your minor children and your spouse

  • If you served in the military, your discharge information for all periods of active duty

  • Information about your income from last year (can be found in your taxes)

  • Checking or savings account number, including the bank’s 9-digit routing number, if you want Direct Deposit for your benefit checks

  • Name, address and phone number of someone Social Security can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your claim

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics

  • Names of medicines you are taking, the dosages, who prescribed them, and any known side effects of the medicines

  • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who sent you for them

  • A list of the jobs that you have had in the last 15 years before you became unable to work.  Include the dates of those jobs.  You will have to provide descriptions of your job duties and physical demands.

  • Information about any insurance or workers’ compensation claims you filed, such as claim number and name, address and phone number of insurance company


You will complete the Adult Disability Benefit Application and the Adult Disability Report.  You will also sign an SSA-827, which is Medical Release Form that allows Social Security to get your medical records from your doctors and hospitals. 


After your case has been processed by Social Security and you have been found to be technically eligible, your case is then forwarded to the Disability Determination Bureau for a medical decision. 


The Disability Determination Bureau is a state agency that is responsible for making the medical determination if you qualify for disability benefits.  You can expect to receive questionnaires about your daily activities and your past work.  They will likely want you to attend an examination with one of their doctors and may send you for additional testing.  It is important that you cooperate with the agency because they can deny your claim for not returning questionnaires or for not attending an examination. 


If the Disability Determination Bureau denies your claim, they will send you a letter explaining their reasons.  It is extremely important that you pay attention to the date on that letter because you only have 60 days to appeal the denial.  Appealing the denial preserves the filing date on your original application and keeps you entitled to the most back benefits when you are found disabled.  You can appeal your denial by going into the Social Security office. 


After filing your appeal, your case is sent back to the Disability Determination Bureau for a reconsideration review and different people will re-evaluate your claim.  It is important to list any recent doctors’ visits and hospitalizations since your first application.  The Disability Determination Bureau will update your medical file.  They may send additional questionnaires or want you to see another doctor. 


If your case is denied at the reconsideration letter, you will receive a letter in the mail.  You then have 60 days to appeal the denial and file for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.  In Indiana, the average wait for a hearing is about one year.  Before a hearing, it is important to gather all of your medical records to ensure that the record is complete.  At the hearing, the judge may decide to call an expert to testify in your case.  They could be a medical expert or a vocational expert.  A medical expert will help the judge understand your medical records and will offer an opinion about what he or she feels you can do despite your impairments.  A vocational expert has special knowledge about what work is available in the region and what skills, physical, and mental strength a person has to have in order to be able to do those jobs.  You will have to testify at your hearing.  The judge will ask you questions about your disabilities and why you cannot work.  They will also ask about your daily activities and past work. 


Typically, you do not learn if you won your case at the hearing.  You must wait for the decision that will come in the mail.  If you win your case, the local Social Security Office will contact you about any recent changes in your income or resources if you have an SSI claim.  You will then begin to receive your monthly benefit.  Although this sounds simple, sometimes it can take 60 to 90 days for your allowance to be processed and for you to receive your benefits. 


If your case is denied by an Administrative Law Judge, you may be able to appeal the case to the Appeals Council.  The Appeals Council is located in Virginia and the appeal is done on paper.  It takes anywhere from two months to two years to receive a decision from the Appeals Council.  Usually, a response will be received within six to nine months. 


If your case is denied by the Appeals Council, you may be able to file for review in Federal District Court.  It typically takes twelve months to get a decision from this court. 


Although the Appeals Council and Federal Court have the ability to approve your case, they typically do not.  The most likely favorable outcome at the Appeals Council or Federal Court is that they will remand your case for another hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.  Of course, they can deny your case as well.