Four Levels of the Social Security Disability Appeals Process
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Dec 06, 2016 in Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability benefits are an important source of income for individuals who can no longer work because of a disabling condition. Unfortunately, these benefits are difficult to get, as the majority of applicants are denied the first time they apply.
However, there is an appeals process that provides applicants with the opportunity to appeal a denied claim. With the help of an experienced disability lawyer, many applicants are granted benefits after appealing a denied claim.
Request for Reconsideration
If your claim for benefits has been denied, the Social Security Administration will provide you with a detailed explanation as to why it denied your claim. It will also provide information for appealing the denial if you disagree with the administration’s decision.
The first step in the disability appeals process is to request a reconsideration of your application. This will allow your application to be reviewed again by the Disability Determination Services. The reconsideration will be performed by an examiner and medical consultant who have not seen your claim before.
Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
If your claim is denied again, the next step in the disability benefits appeals process is to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). During this step, it is vital that you have legal representation to ensure your claim is presented in the most comprehensive and compelling way.
Your disability lawyer will provide medical evidence, testimonial from doctors, friends and family, and other information important for detailing the effects of your disability.
At this point, the ALJ will determine whether to uphold the denial or grant benefits.
If an ALJ denies your claim, you can request that a review by the Appeals Council. In order to grant a review of your claim and potentially gain the benefits you need, the Appeals Council will look for a mistake in the ALJ decision. If no errors are identified, your claim may not be taken up for consideration.
Federal Court Review
The final step in the appeals process is to file a lawsuit in U.S. district court. In this step, federal judges only hear disability cases if there was a legal error in the previous decision.
Having an attorney by your side throughout the appeals process is in your best interest. With years of experience handling these types of claims, we can help gather the necessary documents and information, ensure your appeals and other paperwork are submitted on time, and represent you throughout the process.
Call (888) 213-8140 for a free, no obligation consultation.