Disability Appeal – In difficult times like these, when the global economy is at the brink of a colossal recession, having your Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) application rejected can be a tough blow to the gut. The Social Security Administration pays over $1 trillion in payments each year through their different kinds of programs.
Social Security Disability Insurance If the Social Security Administration has sent you a letter which states that they have denied your claim for benefits, you don’t need to get disappointed. You can file a disability appeal to keep up the fight. Whenever you get any letter which states anything about benefits, you will also get a letter with information about how you can pursue the appeal process. But, don’t go it alone! Let us join in your fight and help!
Time Limits for Filing a Disability Appeal
One of the many rules you’ll have to follow while appealing a Social Security decision is their strict time limit for appeal. The Social Security Administration (SSA) must receive your request for an appeal within 60 days of when you received your denial letter. So act fast to ensure you don’t miss your very short window for appeal!
Many people make the mistake of appealing the decision late, because they were not aware that they could appeal the SSA’s decision. If the last day for your appeal (60th day) is a weekend or a holiday, the deadline will be extended until the next business day, which may buy you a little extra time, however,it is crucial to file your appeal at the right time because if you don’t, you are likely to lose your chance to file an appeal at all.
However, if you have a reason for not being able to appeal on time, the SSA might allow you more time. We file these requests quite regularly with success, however it’s critical to know the details of the laws that provide you more time, and to have a lawyer by your side that can make the proper arguments. The best solution is to call an experienced attorney the moment you get denied to avoid any risk of missing the deadline!
Different Levels of Appeals
There are four different levels of appeals available to you.These include:
- Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Appeals Council Review
- Federal Court
The first three levels are handled by the SSA itself, however, the next level of appeal is processed in Federal Court. You might find it hard to believe, but three out of four people who file for disability benefits and pursue these appeals are denied these benefits even though their claims are valid.
You can opt for a free disability case assessment at Kahn and Associates for an in-depth analysis of your case by our experienced staff.
Initially, in most cases, the first step of a disability appeal is that you request that the initial decision to be reviewed along with updated medical information. This stage of appeal is called “Reconsideration”. Several States skip the step of reconsideration and go directly to the hearing stage. But reconsideration will be added again to their procedure in April 2020.
Reconsideration of an Original Claim
A reconsideration essentially means that the SSA will review your case, and it takes place at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) level. This process involves a medical consultant and examiner, who aren’t part of the initial decision-making process.
The SSA does this to ensure the legitimacy of your claim, and as such this means that any examiners who were part of the initial decision that got rejected are not part of the case review process.
Reconsideration of Continuing Disability Claim
Once you begin to receive benefits, your disability case will be re-examined consistently through a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). The SSA has the right to end your benefits for many reasons, including:
- Your condition has improved and you are able to work.
- Failure on your behalf to cooperate in the CDR process
2. Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
If your request for reconsideration is denied and you want to take your disability appeal further, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) within 60 days of your reconsideration denial. ALJs are attorneys that work for the SSA and conduct hearings (typically in person) to re-examine your case’s merits.
A majority of their work involves reviewing or overturning decisions that deny disability benefits, and they have the authority to grant you benefits even if you’ve been denied at the prior two stages. Typically approval rates at the ALJ hearing are higher than at the prior two phases, especially if you have an attorney to advocate on your behalf.
3. Appeals Council
If you are unable to get benefits through an ALJ, you can request the Appeals Council to review your disability appeal. The Council has the right to deny, grant or dismiss your request for a review.
The Appeals Council will deny your case without review unless they find:
- Abuse of discretion by the ALJ that heard your case, or
- The decision by the ALJ is not supported by considerable evidence
Once again, if you miss your appeal deadline for the Appeals Council, your cases is likely to be dismissed without further proceedings.
4. Federal Court Review
The last step for a disability appeal is filing a lawsuit in the United States District Court.
Federal judges listen to disability cases without juries, and the judge will only review the case for legal errors. But, many judges base their judgment on factual information too. You might have a good chance of winning an appeal this way.
It is understandable that when an individual is out of work, their ability to pay for an attorney is impacted. That is why Kahn and Associates take our cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not require any payment unless we are successful in securing benefits for you. Even then, the payment comes from your backed benefits and the SSA pays us directly. Either way you will pay nothing out-of-pocket for our representation!
To learn more about your rights under the Social Security Disability laws call our FREE Disability Hotline at 1-866-4-MY-SSDI (469-7734) to speak with one of our friendly disability rights advocates who, once they obtain all the required information, will evaluate your claim in 60 seconds or less. Alternatively, you can fill out our FREE Disability Case Assessment form and one of our representatives will contact you immediately.