Monday, November 7, 2011

Prototype States and Why They May be Significant to Your Claim

You are probably asking yourself, what is a prototype state?

A prototype state is a state that skips the Reconsideration level of the disability benefits process.

The first step of applying for disability benefits consists of filing your initial application. If you are denied at this first level (it usually takes 4-6 months to have a decision made), most claimants appeal that decision to take their claim to the next step- Reconsideration. At this level, your claim is reviewed again by Social Security and another decision is made after 3-5 months. If you receive another denial at this level, the next step is to file another appeal for a Hearing in front a judge (which generally takes 12-24 months to have a hearing date set).

If you live in a prototype state and you are denied at the initial application level, the appeal that you file will automatically go straight to the Hearing level, eliminating the Reconsideration part of the process.

The list of prototype states are:



California (Los Angeles West and North)





New Hampshire

New York


If you are planning on filing for disability benefits or already waiting for a decision to be made on your claim, it is valuable to know whether your state is a prototype state or not so you know what to expect when a decision is made on your claim.

With disability processing times often at well over a year, it is important that you ensure your claim is being processed correctly. Hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer to handle your case will guarantee that no mistakes are made and no further delays are placed on your case. To find out more, visit us at

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