A number of our clients find their way to us after their initial application for Social Security disability benefits gets denied. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies the majority of disability claims. And in our experience, even individuals with legitimate claims have their applications denied more often than not when they file without help from an attorney.
If you receive a denial letter, we can help you appeal the SSDI decision to get you the benefits that you’re rightfully owed. From the date you receive your decision letter, you have 60 days to file an appeal. We highly recommend contacting a Social Security disability attorney during this time. Doing so provides you with the best chance of winning during the appeals process.
How to Win an SSDI Appeal
Your initial SSDI claim can be denied for a wide variety of reasons. Often, the individual reviewing your application simply felt that the medical records you provided were insufficient in proving your medical condition.
When preparing to file an appeal, our Social Security disability lawyer will review your initial application with you. We’ve seen thousands of applications and know precisely what the SSA needs to see to approve claims.
Once we’ve identified the ways in which your application could be improved, we’ll help you gather the necessary evidence to win your case on appeal. This often includes more robust medical records. But it may also include non-medical evidence, such as letters from employers or family members attesting to the ways in which they’ve seen your disability affect you.
Finally, we’ll file a request for reconsideration with your revised application. In many cases, the revised application proves sufficient in securing disability benefits for our clients. But even if your appeal is denied during reconsideration, we’ll continue to fight for you.
The Four Levels of SSD Appeals
Filing for reconsideration is the first step in appealing SSDI decisions. The process is very similar to the initial application. Your appeal will be reviewed by an individual who was in no way involved with the denial of your initial claim. With our help, you stand a very good chance of getting the benefits you deserve during this first stage of appeals.
Hearings with an Administrative Law Judge
When the reconsideration process fails to provide a favorable decision, the next step is to request a hearing. It’s up to you whether or not you attend the hearing. But in most cases, it’s in your best interest to do so.
During the hearing, the judge will ask you questions about your disability, giving you the opportunity to defend your claim. It’s often beneficial to bring additional witnesses, such as doctors or vocational experts, as well. The judge will also question these witnesses to get a better understanding of your disability and how it affects your ability to work.
We understand that most people aren’t accustomed to being interviewed in a court of law. So if a hearing is necessary in your case, we can help you and any other witnesses prepare. This helps to put clients at ease as their hearing approaches. Plus, it increases their chances of a favorable outcome.
Appeals Council Review
If the administrative law judge upholds the previous decisions, the next step is to submit your application to the Social Security Appeal Council. They may decide to review the case or send it back to an administrative law judge for more careful consideration. The Appeals Council will notify you of their decision by mail. Our clients rarely need to take their application to this level.
When all previous steps in the appeals process fail, your final option is to file a lawsuit with a federal district court. It’s incredibly rare for Social Security disability appeals to reach this level. But when we feel that a client has a legitimate claim, we’ll stop at nothing to get them the help they deserve.