Appealing a Denial for SSI or SSDI Benefits –
Most people that appeal an initial SSI or SSDI denial do so with representation by an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney. Even though you may be able to compete the proper forms to file an appeal, your case continues to be subject to extremely complex legal and procedural requirements. Social Security statistics show that most people who are represented by a Social Security Disability Attorney ultimately win their cases. McGreal Disability Law will ensure that all deadlines are met, receive and submit updated medical records, and most importantly, we will present the necessary arguments for a winning appeal based on your specific situation.
If you still want to appeal on your own, you may go to the Social Security web site at www.ssa.gov. If you later decide to get the help of an attorney, we can do that at any time. However, the sooner we get involved, the better the chances will be to win your case.
The Appeals Process. (four levels)
As stated elsewhere, most people are initially denied, but those who ultimately win benefits do so at one of the appeals. The appeals process is not an easy task to conquer, but if you decide to do it on your own, we have outlined the appeals process below to help you tackle it with confidence.
After determining a decision on your initial claim, the SSA will send you a letter explaining their decision. Outlined in the letter will be instructions on how to appeal your claim. If you wish to appeal your disability claim denial you have 60 days from the receipt of the letter to send a request of appeal in writing to the SSA. If you fail to request an appeal of your Social Security disability claim denial within the time limit, you may lose your opportunity to appeal and the decision and it will become final. If you are unable to appeal your Social Security disability denial within the allotted time limit and have a good reason for the delay, the SSA may allow you more time. However, the request for more time must be submitted to the SSA in writing, stating a good reason for the delay.
There are four levels in the appeals process. The first level is the Reconsideration level. If you are denied disability benefits at the initial level, you have the right to file for reconsideration. But you must file this within 60 days of the date that your disability claim was denied. If you do not file for reconsideration within 60 days, your application for benefits will not be reconsidered.
At the Reconsideration level, your medical and vocational information will be reviewed and updated, if necessary. A different Social Security representative will review your disability application (a different person does this because a new set of eyes may find something the first representative did not see). If the original decision by the SSA is found to be wrong, they will change it.
The next level is the Hearing level. If you disagree with the decision determined during the Reconsideration level, you may ask for a hearing which is conducted by an administrative law judge. At the hearing, the judge will allow you to explain your case and may question you and your witnesses about your disability. Witnesses for your case can include persons such as a friend, relative or a medical or vocational expert who knows about your disability.
After the Hearing level, if you still disagree with the decision given by the SSA, you may ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will look at all prior requests for appeal reviews. In reviewing all prior requests, if they feel that the decision made during hearing is correct, they will deny the request for a review. On the other hand, if the Appeals Council decides to review your case, they may decide the case themselves or send it to back to an administrative judge for further review. A letter will be sent to you, notifying you of the decision reached.
If the Appeal Council denies review of your appeal, the final level of the appeal process is at Federal District Court. If you disagree with all the decisions made on your claim, or you were denied a review by the Appeals Council, you can file lawsuit in a Federal District Court. In order to appeal your case at the District Court level, you must have an attorney who can file a case against the SSA. At this level, we will submit multiple legal briefs to a district court judge for review of your case.
As you can see, the appeals process can be confusing and time-consuming, which is why it is beneficial to have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney on your side to ensure that all decisions are made properly. For more information call McGreal Disability Law. (312) 906-9444 for a free consultation and assistance.
Time is of the Essence to Appeal your Social Security Disability Denial
In the Social Security Disability process, time is precious and it’s vital that you meet all deadlines. Don’t let any more time slip away.
You must remember that although this can be a long and often frustrating process, persistence can pay off. Each level or “stage” in the disability process presents its unique set of challenges. In some cases, it may take up to two years after initial application is made for a person to be approved for Social Security disability benefits. It is the person who has an experienced attorney, and who does not give up, who ultimately receives the benefits her or she deserves.
If you need assistance in appealing your claim at any of the above levels, or if you would like more information, contact McGreal Disability Law at (312) 906-9444. We will help you win the benefits your deserve.