Spoke with a lawyer whose wedding I did a little while ago. Said 80% of all cases are turned down and then turned down on appeal. then get the lawyer on appeal to a judge. waiting time to get to the judge in NC average 14 months.
From personal experience, and from what others here have said, this is exactly right.
However (I don't know about other states, I'm talking about Texas) once you are approved, you get paid retroactive all the way back to when you first applied.
The IMPORTANT thing is not to let any deadlines slip past you.
My husband went on diabability, and when he turned 65 it continues as his social security payment.
I still vividly remember when we first handed in our intial paperwork. If the caseworker had not said things in the particular way she did, we may have given up on that first denial.
The way the conversation went...all from the caseworkers viewpoint....
We gave her the paperwork, she entered it all in, asking and verifying the info given, then, she turned to us, put her hands together, looked down at the paperwork and said....
All right, we have all the information entered for your claim, we have X amount of days to get back to you....
Then she looked up and made very direct eye contact with me "WHEN you are denied (then she looked back down at the paperwork) you have X amount of days in which to make an appeal. (looking back up again and making direct eye contact with me) WHEN you are denied a 2nd time (looks back down at the paperwork) you then have the option to (looks up again with the direct eye contact) GET...A....LAWYER (looks back down) who would then....blah blah blah...
When Wally brought in forms for his doctor to fill out, he off handedly said "Oh, this is going to cost you $4000" He knew too it would end up with an attorney.
That's exactly what it cost, out of the retro-payments, so we still got a lot as our up front payment. That's the maximum the attorney is allowed to charge as he takes a percentage up to a maximum amount.
It was the best $4K we ever spent. We got a big lump of cash, and monthly payments ever after.
It didn't take a year and a half in our case, beacause (a) we stayed on top of it ever step of the way and (b) we just lucked out and got a judge that quickly rubber stamped it. I think it took us a little over a year, 9 months of it waiting around.
Just don't give up or drop the ball.