What Is the Appeals Process for Social Security Disability?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Sep 25, 2018 in Social Security Disability
If your claim for Social Security Disability benefits has been denied, you have the right to appeal this initial decision. There are several levels of the appeals process you may pursue.
Our skilled Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers at Phillips Law Group can help guide you through every step of the appeals process, fighting to recover the compensation you are entitled. Request a free, no obligation consultation today to learn more about your legal options.
The Appeals Process
After a claim denial, there are four levels of the appeals process you may go through:
Request for Reconsideration
If your initial claim was denied for medical or non-medical reasons by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may make a request for reconsideration. You may do so by contacting your local Social Security office or by making an online request. Requests for reconsideration must be made within 60 days of receiving your original determination letter.
When you file a request for reconsideration, your claim is then reviewed by someone who was not involved in the initial decision. He or she will look at all the evidence submitted when the original decision was made as well as any new evidence.
Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
If you disagree with the decision made at the reconsideration level, you may then request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At this stage, an ALJ will examine your claim and either uphold the decision made previously or overturn it, approving your claim. The ALJ will not have participated in any prior determinations.
A hearing will be held typically within 75 miles of your home. Video hearings may take place instead of an in-person hearing. You may be asked to provide additional evidence about your claim or to clarify information prior to the hearing.
It is in your best interest to attend this hearing. You may bring witnesses such as medical or vocational experts to testify regarding your claim. You may question these witnesses or your attorney may do so.
You must request this hearing with 60 days from receiving the denial letter from your request for reconsideration.
The next stage of appeals is asking the Appeals Council to review your claim. The Appeals Council only accepts select cases – generally involving a legal error, abuse of discretion during a hearing, procedural problems or decisions not made upon substantial evidence. The Appeals Council can decide to review your case itself or return it to an ALJ for further review.
Federal Court Review
If you disagree with the Appeals Council or the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, the final option in appealing your disability claim is filing a lawsuit in a federal district court.
A federal court review is a lengthy process. Hiring a disability lawyer can be very beneficial, as the attorney can handle the situation and keep you informed throughout the process.
Learn Your Legal Options Today
If your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, learn your legal options for appealing this decision by requesting a free, no obligation consultation with our Phoenix Social Security Disability attorneys today. Our firm will review your case and if you decide to move forward, we can assist you in pursuing an appeal.
There are no upfront fees to use our services and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.