Appeals Process for Denied Disability ClaimsWas your application for disability benefits denied? Most applicants don't want to accept an unfavorable decision. You have the right to appeal your denied disability claim if you need these essential benefits. There are many levels to the SSA appeals process, so it is essential to have experienced guidance when you appeal a denied claim for disability benefits. contact the Coye Law Firm as soon as you get a denial letter to start the appeals process.
Deadline to AppealOnce you get a denial letter in the mail, you have 60 days to file an appeal. You should file an appeal as soon as possible. If you miss the 60 day appeal deadline, you need to completely reapply for disability benefits. You might be able to get an extension, but you will need to write a detailed letter to the Social Security Administration with a valid reason.
ReconsiderationThe first step in a disability appeal is to file a Request for Reconsideration. After your disability attorney files this paperwork, an impartial representative at the SSA will review your case and assess new evidence. If your illness, injury, or condition gets worse, you have new or continuing medical treatment, or any other aspect of your life has changed since your first application, tell the SSA. You might be able to win your appeal at this stage if there is enough proof that your disability affects your life and ability to work.
You will get a letter in the mail whether you win or lose your appeal at this stage. If your claim is still denied, you can file a request for a hearing.
HearingIf your disability claim is denied after filing a Request for Reconsideration, you can request a hearing. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your case and any new evidence. This is your opportunity to describe all the ways that your injury or illness affects your life in person. Expect to see the judge and the following people at your hearing:
- your disability lawyer
- vocational experts (to testify about your work history)
- medical experts (to testify about your health or disability)
- other witnesses
Appeals Council ReviewWhen a judge denies an appeal after a hearing, the disability applicant can request that their case move on to appeals council review. The appeals process gets more difficult as it goes further. Most people won't want to appeal past a hearing because the potential benefits won't make up for the time and money spent on the appeal. The council is a part of the Social Security Administration. They may deny requests for appeal if they agree with a prior decision, decide upon the matter themselves, or send it back to an ALJ for further review. You will get a letter in the mail that states their decision.
Federal CourtThe final step in the appeals process is to file a formal lawsuit in federal court. Claimants rarely reach this final step in the appeals process, but it is an option if you disagree with the decision. You will certainly need a disability attorney at this stage of the appeals process, but hiring one as early as possible will help save you the time, money, and stress that accompany a lawsuit.
Visit the Social Security Administration's website or call them at 1-800-772-1213 to learn more about filing and resolving an appeal.
You have the right to file an appeal for your denied Social Security disability claim. Your chances of being approved in the reconsideration stage or at a hearing are much higher if you have an accomplished disability lawyer working on your case. Call the Coye Law Firm today to talk to a disability advocate in a free consultation.