Social Security Disability Claim Form on the Computer ScreenLiving in Lafayette is an experience unlike any other. The city has a unique culture, wonderful people, and lively nightlife. Its restaurants bring the freshest seafood off the boats, and its music venues are world-famous. From Friday night football games to festivals celebrating Cajun and Creole cultures, living in Lafayette provides a diverse array of experiences to be enjoyed year-round.

If you are disabled and unable to work, it can be difficult to make the most of everything Lafayette has to offer. However, applying for Social Security disability benefits can provide you with much-needed financial support to alleviate some of the stress you are feeling.

In the United States, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for administering the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. This program provides monthly payments and other benefits to people unable to work due to a disability.

While this article provides a brief guide to applying for Social Security disability in Lafayette, Louisiana, we offer a more in-depth look at the process in Your Guide to a Successful Social Security Disability Claim: What Claimants, Their Family Members, and Healthcare Providers Need to Know. We encourage you to request this free handbook to ensure you understand what to expect from each step of the application process.

Information Needed to Apply for SSDI

The first step in applying for SSDI is gathering all of the necessary documents you'll need to support your application. You will need to provide medical records, contact information for your medical providers, and any other information that proves your disability. You will also need to provide your education history, work history, and information about your earnings during the last two years.

If you were born in the US, you will need your Social Security number and the date and place of birth. If you were born outside the United States or its territories, you will need the name of your birth country and permanent resident card number.

Additionally, the SSA will need your bank account number and routing number to make deposits.

Submitting Your Initial SSDI Application

Once you have all of the necessary documents, you can fill out the application form. You have three options:

  • Apply online
  • Make an appointment with an SSA representative at the Lafayette, Louisiana, Social Security office located at 106 Corporate Blvd
  • Have a Social Security disability attorney fill out the application on your behalf

Regardless of your choice, all your information must be complete and accurate. Any mistakes on the form could delay the processing of your application for Social Security disability benefits.

Getting a Decision From the SSA

Once your application is complete, you will need to wait for the SSA to make a decision. After reviewing your application and any necessary evidence, the SSA will contact you with their decision. It typically takes three to six months for the SSA to review your application.

If you receive a denial from the SSA, do not panic. Most claims are denied during the first stage of the process. However, applicants who are over 50 years of age are more likely to be approved for benefits because the SSA considers advanced age a limiting factor in your ability to potentially adapt to a new line of work.

Filing a Request for Reconsideration

If you are denied Social Security disability benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision. You can do this by submitting a written request for a first appeal, formally known as a Request for Reconsideration, within 60 days of receiving your denial letter. During the appeals process, you may need to submit additional documents or appear at a hearing. If your appeal is successful, you will be granted disability benefits.

Filing a Request for Hearing

If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you have the right to request a hearing with an administrative law judge. This hearing will allow you to present additional evidence and explain why you should be approved for disability benefits. You must file the request within 60 days, but it can take six to 12 months for your case to be heard.

Taking Your Case to the Appeals Council

If your case is still denied after the hearing, you have 60 days to appeal to the Appeals Council of the SSA. The Appeals Council will review your case and either determine the judge's decision was appropriate or send your case back to the judge with instructions to reevaluate specific issues related to the claim.

Filing a Federal Lawsuit

If your case is denied by the Appeals Council, you may file a lawsuit in federal court. The court may affirm or reverse the SSA's decision. No additional evidence can be submitted at this stage, but your attorney may submit briefs.

Do You Need a Social Security Disability Attorney to Help With Your Lafayette, Louisiana SSDI Claim?

Applying for Social Security disability can be a long and complicated process, but you don't have to go through it alone. Phillip M. Hendry Law can examine the specific details of your case to see if you qualify for disability benefits and stay by your side throughout your claim. We help clients in Lafayette and throughout Louisiana get the Social Security disability benefits they need.

Complete our online contact form or call (318) 553-5900 to schedule a consultation with our experienced Social Security disability attorney. For your convenience, we offer video conferencing options that let you seek assistance from the comfort of your own home.