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Understanding the Process

All Social Security Disability cases are different. Although it can be a long and difficult process, we work to make it as swift and easy as possible for you. That is why we meet with you, help you with all the paperwork and deal with the bureaucracy that is social security.

At Graff Law Office Incorporated, we work extremely hard to develop your record, find the truth, and get your case approved so you can receive the money and resources that are owed to you.

Process (A case can be won at any level, if denied, then move onto the next.)

1. Application: This is the first step to receiving Social Security Disability benefits. You can complete the application online or at your local Social Security office. Doing this at the local office can often be more beneficial and effective because you are working with someone face to face and they can truly see how the disability is affecting you. It is important that you gather and list as much information as possible, including every medical condition you have and every medical facility at which you have received treatment. This helps to build a stronger case. You do not need an attorney for this step in the process. In fact, we recommend that you do not hire an attorney to apply. There is a chance that you might get approved upon your application and there would be no need to have to pay attorneys' fees if this happened. It may take up to 3-4 months before you hear any results. If you are denied, do not give up! (Most cases are denied unless you are paraplegic, quadriplegic, blind, deaf, double amputee, or are expected to die in the next couple months.) You can still win your case. Give us a call and we can help!

2. Request for Reconsideration: After your application has been denied, you usually have a time span of 60 day in which you must appeal. This is where the Graff Law Office can step in to help you build an even stronger case, and to help you win the settlement you deserve. We know this process can be very overwhelming and confusing, that is why we help you fill out paperwork, and gather any updates and medical evidence we may need such as, doctors visits, needs, conditions, progress etc.. We develop your record by also obtaining doctors' detailed opinions as to the severity of your disabling condition and the physical or mental limitations that your condition impose upon you. This is a very important basis to your claim and in winning your case.

3. Request for Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge: If you are denied after reconsideration, you again have 60 days to request a hearing. We will request the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Terry will personally meet with you before your hearing, explain the process involved, and continue to build your case. Then upon court date, he will personally attend your hearing as your legal representative. It can currently take a year or more to get a hearing after one is requested. This is one of the reasons we look through your records to see if you can get an On the Record Decision made without having to wait for a hearing.

4. Request for review (Appeals Council): If the judge denies your case, you once again have 60 days to appeal. At Graff Law Office, we make sure we are doing everything possible to keep this process moving along, build your case and get you approved! This step is a simple paper process. Here the council can either over-turn the judge's ruling and approve your case, or send you back for another hearing or deny your case.

5. Federal appeals court - Lastly, if necessary and justified, we can take your case to the United States District Court. Many disability advocate offices do not have attorneys and cannot take this step into federal court.

You will have 60 days from the appeals council to appeal in federal court. We will help you file the paper work for In Forma Pauperis or IFP, which is granted to those without funds to wave the filing and other court fees. While some other firms will hand your case off to another lawyer at this point, Graff Law Office will not pass you off to a stranger. If your case warrants going into federal court, Terry will stick with you and fight for you until the very end!