How to Appeal A Denied Social Security Disability Claim
Many people filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) payments or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are disheartened when their initial claim is denied. They do not realize that a majority of these applications are initially turned down. Fortunately, a denial is not necessarily the final answer.
At the Law Office of Ellene Welsh, we are prepared to appeal your SSD or SSI denial and pursue your case through an appeal to help you get the benefits you and your family need. Our firm has a strong track record of success handling SSD and SSI appeals in Douglasville, Columbus and throughout West Georgia.
Call us at 770-489-3456 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Levels of SSD and SSI Appeals
Applicants can file an initial claim at a local Social Security Administration office. If your claim is denied, speak to a skilled lawyer about the appeals process. The various levels of an appeal include:
- Reconsideration: Filing a formal Request for Reconsideration involves gathering all relevant medical evidence and other documentation, which will be evaluated by a new Social Security administrator.
- Hearing: If reconsideration is not successful, we will petition for a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) who will determine whether or not you are fit to work. Experienced attorney Ellene Welsh will prepare you for this hearing and remain by your side throughout the duration of the process.
- Appeals Council: If the administrative judge rejects your claim at the hearing, our firm will request a review by the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council.
If the administrative appeals process is not successful, you then have the option of filing a federal court appeal.
The Appeals Process
When your claim is denied, you will receive a letter that will provide the reason for the rejection of the application. It is at this point that you can begin the appeals process.
While the time for claims processing varies, it typically takes between three to five months for applicants to learn of the status of their claim. In the case of two types of claims, the SSA turnaround will be expedited. As you may have read in previous entries, Compassionate Allowances and the Quick Disability Decision allow for hastened review of claims. Other individuals who have suffered from what could be a temporary disability, such as a stroke, may not have their application reviewed for one year.
Should you receive notice of rejection of benefits, you are able to appeal the decision. These are the four steps of the process:
In this stage, a new administrator will review the application and any new medical evidence that is provided. At this stage in the process, your presence will not be required unless you wish to meet with a representative to provide reasons that support your claim that you have a disability.
In order to reduce the burden of appearing at the hearing, the SSA will select a court within 75 miles of the claimant’s home or conduct the hearing via video conference. It is expected that you will be present at this stage of the appeals process. To prepare for the hearing, the applicant is expected to review her information on file and submit any new information. During the hearing, the judge will ask questions to the claimant and any witnesses testifying. The judge’s decision will be recorded and mailed to the claimant.
3. Review by Appeals Council
Should you not find satisfaction in the rendered decision, you can appeal to the Social Security’s Appeals Council. When the council reviews appeals, it may reject any request if it believes that the judge’s conclusion was valid. Should the council decide to move forward with review, it can make its own ruling or send the claims to another arbitrator. Any judgment will be revealed in mailed correspondence.
4. Federal Court Review
The final stage in the appeals process is to seek review in a federal district court. It is here where claimants file lawsuits for benefits. The correspondence from the Appeals Council will explain how to file suit.
While the path to receiving benefits is long and winding, it is possible to successfully petition for benefits using this route. In order to ensure the best possible outcome, it is recommended that claimants speak with a knowledgeable attorney.
Experienced Legal Representation From an Experienced Lawyer
If you are seeking assistance with an SSI or SSD appeal, we can help. Our firm has in-depth knowledge of Social Security benefits and knows how to write persuasive appellate briefs. Contact us online, or call our office at 770-489-3456, to schedule a free initial consultation.
We handle appeals cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no attorney fees until we secure SSD or SSI benefits for you.