The simple answer to this question is yes, it can often be difficult to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
The process is likely designed to be difficult to prevent fraud and to encourage people to work if they are able to do so. An initial application usually takes about an hour to complete from my experience. They are fairly straight-forward; however, many people like having an attorney help with the application to make it a little more simple. After receiving your initial application, Social Security does a number of things to make their determination. For example, Social Security will gather medical records (from doctors you provide) and often schedule an examination by someone who is not your doctor. Even if you have an attorney, pay VERY close attention to the paperwork Social Security sends you. Yes, your attorney is there to help you through the process, but cannot do everything. From my experience, it usually takes about four months to get a decision for Social Security Disability. However, this can easily be delayed if you do not follow instructions to fill out paperwork or attend appointments. It has been reported that roughly two-thirds of initial applications are denied.
And unfortunately things become even more difficult following an initial denial. Stay tuned for the second part of this article discussing the difficulties of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits at the appeal levels. And as always, if you need help filing an initial application or appealing a decision for Social Security Disability, I would be happy to speak with you.