FAQ for Existing Social Security Disability Clients

I received a copy of my application summary in the mail, but what do I do with it?
Please review the application summary and make sure all the information is correct (your name, SSN, birthday, address). Make any corrections as needed on the summary, and initial next to your corrections. Sign the signature page where it says “My Responsibilities.” You will likely receive two SSA authorizations to sign, along with the summary. Please sign those and send them back to the Social Security Administration.

Why are there so many mistakes on my application summary?
Sometimes the information on the summary might differ from how we actually entered it. Do not be alarmed, and simply make the changes to the summary sheet and initial them.

Why does my application summary say I do not have a bank account when I do have an account?
Our firm did not want to record your sensitive bank information. You can leave that response as ‘No’ for now. If/when your claim is approved, this information can be immediately provided to the SSA. If you do not have a bank account and wish to learn more about a debit card option that Pond Lehocky Disability offers, please contact us immediately.
Why is the adjudicator of the state office contacting me if I hired you?

It is perfectly OK to speak with the adjudicator. The adjudicator may contact you from time to time for some personal information. Our office will always make sure the adjudicator has everything they need. However, they will sometimes call you for the information too. if you do not feel comfortable speaking to them, you can always let them know to only reach out to us regarding your claim.

Why is the firm not requesting my records following the initial application or during a reconsideration?

At the initial/reconsideration levels, it is the Social Security Administration’s obligation to request and pay for your medical records. We do work with the Social Security Administration to ensure that it receives your medical records and that is has everything that it needs. If they are unable to obtain records from any providers, we will assist immediately.

I received an Adult Function Report and a Work History Report. Do I have to fill these out even though you have all the information?
Yes, you must fill out these forms. All of the questions are about you, and only you will have the best answers to these questions. The Social Security Administration simply wants a better idea of your conditions and your limitations from your point of view. There are no right or wrong answers. Our best advice is to answer the questions as honestly and openly as possible, but remember to include how you feel after you perform the activities the Social Security Administration asks about. Please ignore the deadline on the forms, but try to return them within a week of receiving them. We suggest you make a copy in case the forms are not received by the Social Security Administration. Alternatively, you can send the forms to us, and we can submit them to the Social Security Administration and save a copy in your file. Of course, if you have any questions about the forms, contact our office or watch our videos about them.

I received a call from IMA. They want to schedule an appointment. What is this about?

IMA is a group that the Social Security Administration uses to schedule a one-time medical examination called a consultative examination. The Social Security Administration sometimes will need additional medical information for your claim and will send you to a doctor for an examination. Please call them back and schedule the appointment based on your availability. Our office will receive notice once it’s scheduled.

What is the next step in the process after a consultative exam (CE) appointment?

Typically, your claim will go into medical review after the CE. We anticipate a decision approximately 6-7 weeks after the exam, but it can take longer. We will be following up with the Social Security Administration and will let you know if we receive any updates.

The doctor at the CE was awful, only looking at me for a few minutes — will this hurt my case?

This appointment is only a portion of the medical records the Social Security Administration will review. It will also be reviewing the medical records from your doctors. The exam is not the biggest factor when deciding your case; your medical records from your treating doctor are the most important.

Can I get a copy of the CE report?

Unfortunately, not directly. You should have received a form to complete to allow the Social Security Administration to send a copy of the report to your doctor. If you did not, we can send you the report once we receive it.

Why isn’t there one case manager handling my case? I always get someone different when I call in.

Pond Lehocky Giordano Disability works as a cohesive unit, one team. Anyone on our team who speaks with you is a trained professional in SSDI matters, and our proprietary case management software allows us to always be aware of what is going on in your case.

How come we are waiting until we get a hearing date to request records?

Our NO. 1 strategy is to always have your medical records up to date for the hearing. Since you will most likely be seeing a doctor between now and the hearing, we wait until it gets closer to the hearing date to request them. Your records will be up to date for the hearing.

My hearing date is already scheduled. What happens if I have a change of address before my hearing date?

If you move, please let us know. Depending on where you move, your case may need to be transferred to another hearing office, but this will not affect your claim.

Why is my attorney waiting until the day before the hearing to do my prep call?

The attorney calls you the night before to make sure that you are fully prepared for the hearing and everything is fresh in your mind. We take this opportunity to make sure you are aware of what to expect at your hearing the next day.

Can the firm do anything to speed up the judge’s decision after the hearing?

Unfortunately, we cannot speed up the judge’s decision process. On average, it takes approximately 30-60 days from the hearing to receive a decision. However, the judge does not have a set time frame for when the decision must be released.

When do I speak to an attorney?

You can speak to an attorney anytime; however, all of your questions can be answered by our disability team. Our attorneys handle multiple hearings per day and are often not available without an appointment. Please feel comfortable speaking to our team about any SSDI topic.

What should I be doing during this entire process?

Throughout your claim, please make sure you are keeping us updated with any new medical information (doctors, treatments, testing, etc.) so we can add to your file and make the Social Security Administration aware. Also, please let us know if you return to work at any time.

What are my chances of getting approved?

We feel extremely confident in your case. Our acceptance of your case and agreeing to represent you is the best way we can demonstrate that we believe you should win. However, the Social Security Administration makes the ultimate decision. Our job is to put you in the best position to win your case and stack the odds in your favor. If for any reason your case is denied, we will handle the appeal for you. If denied by a judge, a specialist will review the decision, and an attorney will discuss your options moving forward.

Will applying for unemployment while waiting for SSD benefits hurt my case?

No. You can apply for and receive unemployment while waiting for your SSDI decision.

Can I collect my pension while my claim is being processed?

Yes, and it will not affect your SSD case. If you applied for SSI, any type of income you have coming in could potentially disqualify you. (However, if you are receiving a pension, you most likely filed for SSD).

I received a payment from the SSA but no approval letter or explanation — what happens from here?

This is very common. You will get a Notice of Award letter within the next few weeks. Please send us a copy of that decision so we can ensure the money you received is correct. Please hold off on spending the money if you can until we confirm what you received is correct.

My claim was awarded, and I am collecting early retirement benefits. What will happen to my benefits? Will I still receive retroactive payments?

Your benefit will switch from early retirement to SSD since that benefit is higher. For retroactive benefits, you will receive the difference between the two amounts.

I was awarded my benefits and received a check for my back pay. Can I still collect unemployment benefits until I start receiving monthly benefits?

You can collect SSDI benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time. Our advice is that you do not file for more unemployment since you already received your back pay; however, that is ultimately your decision.