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The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives thousands of applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and insurance from around the country. Since SSD programs are federally managed, the SSA has to process applications from all 50 states. Due to the high volume of applicants, the SSA is stringent about who they select to receive benefits.
Luckily, an initial denial does not mean you cannot receive SSD benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In fact, most of the citizens the SSA approves for benefits get approved during the appeals process instead of their first application.
The Appeal Process
If the SSA determines you do not qualify for SSD benefits, it can be easy to give up. However, if you are truly disabled and unable to work, you may not be able to afford to give up on SSD benefits. The appeals process can be an uphill battle, but it is worth the effort if you are certain you deserve benefits.
The best chance you have at maneuvering the complex appeals process is to hire an SSD denied claims lawyer. That way, you do not have to fear not having the correct documentation or otherwise hurting your chance of securing benefits. The appeals process can be extensive or simple depending on your specific case and how each step goes.
The first step of the process after you have hired a lawyer is to file an official request for appeal. This is called a reconsideration, which you send to the SSA within 60 days of first receiving a denial. In your reconsideration, you must provide updated documentation of your medical condition from a qualified physician. If the SSA continues to deny your reconsideration, your case will move to the hearing phase.
The hearing phase of an appeal involves a judge presiding in court to hear the details of your case and consider your claim according to the new documentation you provide. The judge is known as the administrative law judge. The hearing is not as official as other types of hearings, and your lawyer will be with you every step of the way. However, you should take measures on your own to prepare, such as understanding why the SSA denied your application and reconsideration.
If the judge denies your claim at the hearing, your appeal will move to stage three: the Social Security Appeals Council. The Council will decide whether or not to review your case by looking at your past requests. If the Council reviews your case and believes you qualify for SSD benefits, the appeals process will end there. If your request for a review or your claim after the review is denied, you can move to the final step: a lawsuit with the federal district court.
The final effort you can make to receive benefits after the SSA denies your claim is to file a lawsuit with the federal district court, taking the case to trial. The judge in this trial will look at every piece of documentation in your case up to this point, including new developments with your medical condition and work history. The judge will then come to a final decision about your case.
If all four of the appeals processes fail to accept your SSD benefits or insurance claim, you can wait for a designated period of time and reapply to the SSA, beginning the process over again. For expert advice about filing for SSD benefits, contact us to speak with an SSD representative. Your attorney at Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC will communicate with medical personnel on your behalf, acquiring solid documentation of your disability to present to the judge throughout the SSD appeals process.