SSD Claim Appeals/Common Causes for Denied Appeals
Most Charleston residents who apply for disability benefits have to take the additional step of filing an appeal after receiving a notice from the Social Security Administration that their application did not qualify for benefits. A high percentage of disability applications are denied initially.
If the SSA has turned down your request for disability benefits, then you only have a limited amount of time to file an appeal. You must appeal the denial decision in a timely manner or lose your right to pursue an appeal. It is helpful to have a knowledgeable Charleston, S.C. disability benefits lawyer handle your appeal and advocate on your behalf.
The disability claims appeals process involves multiple levels of appeals.
Reconsideration—The first step is to ask the SSA to reconsider your application. A reconsideration involves a review of your file by a claims examiner who did not participate in the initial review. You will be asked to provide updated information about your medical condition. The examiner will review the complete file and determine if you qualify for disability benefits. Requesting reconsideration is a procedural step before you can request a hearing. A small percentage of applications are granted approval during the reconsideration process, which may take several months to complete.
Hearing— If your SSD application is denied upon reconsideration, then you may ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge. You may have witnesses including medical experts testify on your behalf about your disability. The hearing provides your best chance of getting the initial decision reversed and obtaining disability benefits. Having medical records documenting your disability is critical to a successful claim. An experienced Charleston SSD attorney can help gather medical evidence and prepare you for the kinds of questions the administrative law judge will likely ask. Our attorneys can call medical professionals as witnesses to support your claim. The administrative law judge is unlikely to announce a decision about your case at the hearing. The judge may take a number of months to decide your case.
Appeals Council—If you are dissatisfied with the administrative law judge’s decision, then you may appeal to the Social Security Administration Appeals Council and ask the council to determine whether an error of law was made in your case. The appeals council may accept the case for review, remand it to the administrative law judge for further action or decline to review the case and allow the judge’s decision to stand.
U.S. District Court—If you wish to challenge the decision by the Appeals Council, then you may file a lawsuit in federal district court in South Carolina, suing the Social Security Administration.
As you can tell from the steps outlined above, the disability appeals process is complicated. Fortunately, experienced legal help is available to help you navigate the appeals process. An experienced Charleston SSD lawyer can help you gather medical evidence and present your best case for disability benefits.
Working with an experienced SSD attorney at Joye Law Firm can help make the appeals process go more smoothly.