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Ask anyone who has applied for Social Security Disability benefits (either disability insurance benefits or supplemental security income). They may tell you about a lengthy and frustrating process that required completing an in-depth application, filling out information forms for the Disability Determination Bureau (DDB), attending one or more examinations by a physician or psychologist hired by the Social Security Administration (SSA), keeping the DDB updated about new treatment appointments, emergency department visits and hospitalizations and then just waiting on a determination. Across the county, initial applications are approved about 30% of the time.

The processing times for initial applications increased significantly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, SSA offices were closed to the public (starting in March 2020).  SSA and DDB staff were working from remote locations.  Beginning around March 2022, SSA offices started to reopen.  Now processing times are much improved.  Depending on the medical complexity of the case, it normally takes, at a minimum, 90 to 120 days for SSA to reach a determination on an initial application.  (Of course, this is an estimate.  The processing time varies in each case.) Applications which are denied will have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

The importance of being thorough and on time

 Fotolia_110866435_XS1o-300x165This weekend, our family followed our Nation’s custom of decorating the graves of family members who gave their lives while fighting for our country during their service in the military.  The decoration of the graves included not only family members who died in battle but also those who, during their lives, served in the military.  In the cemetery where our loved ones are buried, I noted hundreds of graves which had an American flag planted next to the grave’s tombstone.   The Cemetary’s electronic chime system alternated tunes including patriotic songs.

The American tradition of decorating the graves of fallen American soldiers began shortly after the close of the Civil War in the Spring of 1865.  With the war’s end, citizens across the country began to decorate the graves of soliders who gave their lives defending the Union in the Civil War.   The decoration of the graves consisted of placing flags and flowers on their graves.

With the advent of the first World War, the nascent national tradition of remembrance extended to those soliders who died in the World War I.  Remembrance was later expanded to included soliders who made the ultimate sacrifice in all of our Nation’s wars and conflicts including, Word War II, the Koren War, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. 

The Thanksgiving holiday allows all of us to take time out of our busy everyday lives to reflect on all of the benefits our great country has given us and the support of our family and friends.  Our offices will be closed Thursday, Thanksgiving day and Friday so we can spend time with our families and loved ones.  Happy Thanksgiving everybody!iStock-1043185044-300x200

Fotolia_175061860_XS-300x199What is a Social Security Video Teleconference Hearing?  A video teleconference hearing (“VTC”) is a hearing at which the administrative law judge appears from a remote hearing location and the Social Security claimant and his/her attorney is at another hearing location.  The “video teleconference” part is how the judge and the claimant see one another.  They see and hear one another by means of a secure link through a type of a television.  A VTC hearing is similar to “Face Time” or “Skype.”  The claimant and his/her attorney still meet at the Office of Hearings Operations.  (In Indiana, those hearing offices are located at: Market Square Center, Suite 400, 151 North Delaware, Indianapolis; 6511 Brotherhood Way, Ft. Wayne; Old Post Office 100 NW Second Street, Continue reading

Memorial Day 2015

© Meilin

The Law Office of Ted Smith Attorney at Law honors the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.

Our law office will be closed on Monday, May 25th in their honor.

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