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Disability Appeals FAQs
Q: How long does an appeal take?
A: The appeals process can take a long time. There are four stages in appealing a denied disability claim, but if you are successful at any of them, the process stops. The first step, request for reconsideration, can take up to a year if the SSA requires you to get more medical consultation and exams. The average amount of time needed to process a hearing with an administrative law judge, the next step, was 514 days in 2008. The Appeals Council Review and filing a suit in federal court can take a lot of time to process and resolve depending on the circumstances of your case.
Q: What is the first step in the appeals process?
A: After you receive a denial letter, you need to notify the Social Security Administration that you'd like to file a Request for Reconsideration. You or an attorney can do this by completing and sending Form SSA-561-U2 http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-561.pdf back to the SSA's offices.
Q: How long do I have to file an appeal?
A: You have 60 days from the date you received your denial letter to appeal the decision.
Q: What happens if I don't make the deadline?
A: If you don't appeal the decision within 60 days, you need to reapply for disability benefits. After the 60 day deadline passes, your application is discarded because the Social Security Administration handles millions of applications a year and cannot keep old ones.
Q: If my disability insurance company or the Department of Veterans Affairs considers my conditions disabling, does the Social Security Administration think so also?
A: No. Each organization that pays benefits has its own method and requirements for determining what constitutes a disability.
Q: I'm appealing the decision to stop benefits. Will I continue to receive checks while I go through this process?
A: Yes, in some cases. If you appeal a decision to stop benefits based on the fact that your condition is no longer disabling, you can continue getting a monthly check while you appeal. If you receive SSI payments and are appealing a decision to stop them, you can request that the Social Security Administration continue to pay them while you appeal.
Q: Are there any requirements for someone to be a representative?
A: No. A claimant can choose whomever they want to represent them. However, the representative should have some familiarity with the Social Security Administration's appeals process and be able to accurately express how your medical condition affects yours life.
Q: How do I appoint a representative?
A: You can download, complete, and mail in Form SSA-1696-U4 to appoint your representative. If you choose to hire an attorney to represent you, they can draw up all of the necessary paperwork so you won't have to worry about it.
The Coye Law Firm is dedicated to serving clients through the entire appeals process. If you need representation in appealing a denied disability claim, call our offices today. We offer free consultations and don't collect on your case unless we win on your behalf.