Initial Claim / Application

The Massachusetts disability lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have over 25 years of experience guiding clients through the initial claims process and expediting their recovery of benefits. Located in Boston, we strive to give disabled individuals the best chance of recovering disability benefits on their first claim or successfully appealing a denial. We are dedicated to optimizing your benefits through initial claim, reconsideration, or hearing.

Massachusetts SSDI Claims

In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, injured employees may apply for SSDI. While SSDI does not require a work-related injury, employees must have paid social security taxes to be eligible for benefits. The disability or impairment at issue must also keep the worker from engaging in employment for at least 12 consecutive months. Massachusetts residents can apply for SSDI at any one of the 33 local offices in the state. Steps in the application process include:

  • Free disability evaluation (online)
  • Applying online, by phone, or in person
  • Filing supporting medical documents with claim
  • Determination of eligibility based on earned “credits”
  • Case file sent to disability examiner for medical evaluation
  • Form describing job duties, skills, and all work in last 15 years
  • Staff physician and disability examiner make medical determination
  • Written decision of approval (payment begins in 6th month) or denial reasons
  • Several stages of appeal before Disability Determination Service (DDS) or judge

The Boston region processes over 325,000 claims each year and issues payment to over 2.5 million applicants. Initial claims are filed with local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices, which determine “income/asset” level eligibility, before being sent to DDS for a medical determination. Over 60% of claims are denied at the initial stage. SSA reports that the average wait time is 12 months and that the average processing time is about 355 days.

Appealing a Denial

Claimants have 60 days from the date of initial claim denial to file a request for reconsideration. During the first appeal stage, a different DDS examiner reviews the initial application with a medical consultant. Because the SSA rejects over 85% of reconsideration requests, claimants will likely have to file a new claim or request a hearing before an administrative law judge within 60 days. Applicants have the best chance of obtaining disability benefits, including monthly income and back pay, at the hearing stage. A legal representative further increases these chances by presenting:

  • Evidence of deteriorating or changing condition
  • Supplemental medical and vocational information
  • Current opinion of treating physician or psychologist
  • Clinical laboratory findings, hospital treatment records
  • Testimony from non-physician providers, friends, relatives

SSA reports the same 12-month wait time at hearing offices throughout the state. Although legal representation is not required, it is highly recommended. A qualified advocate significantly expedites the appeals process, especially in requesting a hearing, and dramatically increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Claimants should receive a notice of hearing at least 30 days before the scheduled date. Hearings take place at the local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, where a judge will hear the case and issue a decision a few months after the hearing. If the claim is approved, the notice of decision will be mailed with a notice of award.

Fighting for Your Benefits

If you are filing an initial claim with the SSA, the Massachusetts Social Security disability attorneys of Kantrovitz & Associates can help. We have obtained favorable outcomes in applications and appeals for over 25 years. Maximize your chances of obtaining benefits by trusting our familiarity with the administrative process. Call (800) 367-0871 today for a free consultation or contact us online.