In 2011, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will receive millions of claims submitted by disabled workers who are in desperate need of Social Security Disability benefits. In the Northern Marianas Islands, 260 residents receive disability benefits from the SSA.
Many more would be receiving benefits, but a large percentage of these applicants are caught in the middle of the lengthy and complex disability appeal process. This is due to the fact that 70 percent of disability claims are denied by the SSA during the initial stage of the application process, resulting in the need for a disability appeal.
In the Northern Marianas Islands the first stage of the disability appeal process is called a Request for Reconsideration. Statistics show that fewer than 20 percent of these requests are granted by the SSA.
The remaining 80 percent of applicants must go on to request a hearing before an administrative law judge, who could overturn the SSA's decision to deny an initial disability claim. Unfortunately, it can take Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability applicants more than a year to obtain this hearing and be granted a day in court.
The wait times for hearings are extensive due to the number of backlogged appeals currently making their way through the Social Security system. Because nearly 70 percent of disability claims are denied by the SSA, the majority of disability applicants must request a disability hearing.
There are only so many judges hearing these cases, which create a backlog of cases waiting to be heard. The wait times required for a hearing are a result of this backlog.
The agency in charge of scheduling disability hearings for Social Security Disability applicants is the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, also known as ODAR. The area that a U.S. citizen lives in determines which ODAR office manages their case.
For Northern Mariana Islands Social Security Disability applicants, the ODAR office located in Honolulu, Hawaii is in charge of scheduling the disability hearings. It takes this office an average of 315 days to schedule a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Hiring a Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability Attorney
No one likes the idea of waiting more than a year before disability benefits begin – especially when those benefits are desperately needed to make ends meet. That is why many Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability applicants wonder if there is any way to avoid the frustrating disability appeal process. In some cases, the services of a qualified Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability Attorney can help.
When you hire a Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability lawyer to help you with your disability claim, the lawyer you chose to work with will help you in the preparation of your Social Security Disability application.
He or she will help you answer the questions on the disability forms and will ensure that your claim is presented to the SSA in the best light possible. Your Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability attorney will also help you gather the medical evidence that the SSA will need to approve your claim for disability benefits.
If, for some reason, your initial application is denied by the SSA, even with the help of a Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability lawyer, your attorney will be able to represent you in your disability appeal. He or she will file the initial Request for Reconsideration and will begin to prepare you for your disability hearing before an administrative law judge. This preparation will involve informing you as to what you can expect at your hearing and how you should present yourself before the judge who will be hearing your disability case. This guidance will make the hearing process less stressful and will increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
What You Need to Know When Working with an Attorney
It is important to note that while you are allowed to represent yourself at your hearing, it is not in your best interest to do so. A qualified Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability attorney will better understand the laws that pertain to your particular disability case and will be able to provide you with much-needed advice and support.
Statistics show that Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability applicants who obtain legal representation for their disability appeal are more likely to be awarded benefits than applicants who represent themselves.
The good news is that the services you need for quality legal representation do not have to cause any added financial stress. Social Security Disability attorneys work on a contingency basis.
They collect 25 percent of the back pay that you are awarded by the SSA, not exceeding $6,000. For example, if you were awarded $4,000 in back pay by the SSA, your attorney would receive $1,000 of that amount.
If you were awarded $40,000, your attorney would receive $6,000 instead of the full 25 percent.
Click here if you would like to learn more about hiring a Northern Marianas Islands Social Security Disability lawyer and to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.