Social Security disability claim denials are common. In fact, the applicant whose claim is approved initially is the exception rather than the rule. To fight for your disability benefits, hire an attorney specializing in this field as soon as possible. The chances of winning your appeal increase significantly when you are represented by legal counsel. You have 60 days after receiving the notice of the denial to file an appeal. Failure to file an appeal within that timeframe means the Social Security Administration’s decision becomes final, although there are certain exceptions.
The letter denying your claim explains the reasons for the SSA’s decision. In reconsideration, your claim is reviewed by someone who did not participate in the original determination. Many claims are denied because forms were not completed correctly or necessary information was not submitted. A Social Security disability attorney will ensure that all forms and relevant evidence are submitted properly. Your lawyer will also work with you to obtain any new medical evidence that could bolster your claim. That may include receiving testimonials from your doctors providing documentation that your condition warrants receiving disability benefits.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing
If your case is denied after reconsideration, all is not lost. The next step is requesting a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ did not take part in either the initial determination or reconsideration. The judge reviews your case during the hearing. Medical experts may testify on your behalf, and the judge will question these witnesses as well as you. Your attorney will thoroughly prepare you for this hearing ahead of time.
After the hearing, the judge decides to uphold the SSA’s prior determination or overturn it. If the latter, you should be granted Social Security disability benefits.
Appeals Council Review
If your administrative hearing does not go your way, you may request the Appeals Council for a review. The Appeals Council may or may not grant your review request. If it does grant a review, it will either issue a new decision or return your claim to an ALJ for additional action. You must request an Appeals Council review within 60 days of the ALJ’s decision. Your lawyer will represent you.
Federal Court Review
If the Appeals Council decides not to review your claim, or you disagree with its decision, you have one more avenue to pursue. That is filing a civil suit in federal district court seeking judicial review of the SSA’s decision.
Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney
If you have been denied a Social Security disability claim, you need the services of an experienced lawyer for Social Security disability at Marc Whitehead & Associates. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. There is no fee unless you receive compensation. At Marc Whitehouse & Associates, you receive the services of a dedicated case manager to coordinate all aspects of your case. We work closely with your doctors and solicit the opinions of medical and vocational experts to build as strong a case as possible.