Many clients approach the Law Offices Of M. Stanley Whitehead because their claims for Social Security Disability benefits have been denied. They want to know, what options there are after a denial? What is the Social Security Disability appeals process like?
This brief overview will answer those questions. For more information or to talk about the specifics of your case, the Houston Social Security attorneys at the Law Offices Of M. Stanley Whitehead can help.
Timeline for Appeals
If you receive a denial letter for your disability claim, you can ask the Social Security Administration (SSA) to take another look at your case. All aspects of your claim will be reviewed, and if it is determined that the denial was incorrect, then you may be awarded benefits.
The Social Security disability appeals process starts with a written request within 60 days of the date you receive a denial letter. The SSA assumes that you have received your letter within five days of the date on the denial, unless there is proof that it was received later than that.
Levels of Appeal
There are several levels in the Social Security disability appeals process. Here is a brief description of each level:
This first stage consists of a complete review of your disability claim. This review will be done by someone with fresh perspective who was NOT involved in the initial decision. All original evidence that was submitted will be reviewed, in addition to any new evidence presented with the reconsideration request. In most cases, this type of review does not require you to be present.
If your reconsideration is denied, the next step in the Social Security disability appeals process is requesting a hearing. An administrative law judge who was not part of either the initial decision or the reconsideration will conduct the hearing.
Disability denial hearings are typically held within 75 miles of your home but in some cases can also be done by video conference. The judge who will conduct your hearing will inform you of the time and place.
The judge may ask for additional evidence, and witnesses are allowed, including medical and vocational experts. The help of a Houston Social Security attorney can make a big difference in the success of this hearing. The judge will make a determination on your appeal based on all information related to your case. This includes any new evidence presented and any witness testimony.
If the claim is still denied, you and your attorney can decide if you want to request a review by the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council. This council can deny the request if it deems the judge’s decision to be accurate.
If the request is approved, the Council may review your case or return it to an administrative law judge for further review.
The final step in the Social Security disability appeals process is at the federal court level. If the Appeals Council denies your request or you disagree with their review decision, a Social Security disability attorney can help you file a lawsuit in federal court to have your case re-examined.
Get Help with the Social Security Disability Appeals Process
The Social Security disability appeals process can be complex and frustrating for those who try to do it alone. Board certified Social Security lawyer M. Stanley Whitehead has years of experience helping through all levels of the process. Our law offices take pride in a high success rate for getting clients the benefits they need. If your claim for benefits has been denied, call us today.