Appealing the Claim
If you or a loved one is not satisfied with the decision reached during your claim, you have options available to challenge the Social Security Administration. While some denials may be legitimate, there are also a number of claims that fall victim to human error, documentation mistakes, improper evaluations, bureaucratic blunders and many other complications. Regardless of the reason, unfair decisions can be devastating for disabled applicants who are in need of disability benefits. Fortunately, our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Shook & Stone can help you appeal your denial and work toward strengthening your claim.
How the SSD Appeal Process Works
The appeals process is an essential and fair component of Social Security disability applications. As the Social Security Administration reports that denial rates in the initial stage of the application are more than 80%, it is only inevitable that some of the denials were the result of errors or mistakes in applications and procedures. This means that applicants who truly qualify for benefits are not able to receive them.
If you have been denied SSD benefits, or if you do not agree with the SSA's decision, you have the right to appeal your claim. Appeals are conducted in four levels, including:
- Appeals council review
- Federal Court
Depending on what you are appealing, your appeal will be evaluated by the SSA or Disability Determination Services. They will review your case in its entirety, not just the part or decision you disagree with. If there is sufficient evidence that their decision was wrong, the SSA will change it. It is also important to note that you must file an appeal within 60 days from the date you received the SSA's determination letter.
As the first part of your appeal, reconsideration involves a total review of your claim by an SSA or DDS employee who did not work on your initial claim. The original claim will be used to evaluate the decision, as all as any new evidence. An attorney from our firm can analyze your original claim in order to determine how it can be strengthened and what additional information can be provided during your reconsideration.
You can request a hearing if you disagree with your reconsideration decision. The hearing will be conducted by an administrative law judge. The hearing will provide you with the opportunity to present any new information, as well as answer any questions a judge may have. In addition, you can bring witnesses, including medical or vocational experts, to support your claims.
Appeals Council Review
If you still do not agree with the decision reached in your hearing, you can request a review from the Social Security's Appeals Council. Decisions will be made by the council or returned to an administrative law judge.
You have the right to take your claim to a federal district court in the event that your appeal continually arrives at an incorrect decision. Filing a lawsuit in a federal court is a serious decision that will require you to strongly support your claim.
Working with an Attorney
As the appeals process can be frustrating and highly complex, seeking legal representation can make all the difference in the success of your case. Our experienced attorneys have a great deal of knowledge with the Social Security program and with the claims appeals process. By using this information, we can thoroughly evaluate your case and work with you on the ways in which we can improve your claim. In addition to ensuring that your claim and supporting information is strong, our attorneys can also handle the technical legal matters and procedures involved.
Experience SSD Appeals Representation
With 85 years of combined legal experience and more than $100 million in compensation recovered for our clients since 1997, you can be confident that Shook & Stone has the skills, experience and dedication needed to give your appeal the best possibility of reaching a fair and favorable resolution. If you or a loved one is looking to file an appeal for Social Security Disability, contact Shook & Stone today.