Many clients approach the Law Offices Of M. Stanley Whitehead because their claims for Social Security Disability benefits have been denied. What options are there after a denial? What is the Social Security Disability appeals process like?
This brief overview will answer those questions. For more information or a consultation on 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. What follows is a brief description of each level:
Reconsideration: This first stage consists of a complete review of your disability claim 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.
Hearing: In the event that 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.
Additional evidence may be requested of you, and witnesses are allowed, including medical and vocational experts. The assistance of a Houston Social Security attorney is highly encouraged for this hearing. The judge will make a determination on your appeal based on all information related to your case, including any new evidence presented and any witness testimony.
Appeals Council: If the claim is still denied, you and your Houston Social Security 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, your case may be reviewed by the Council or returned to an administrative law judge for further review.
Federal Court: The final step in the Social Security disability appeals process is at the federal court level. If the Appeals Council denies your request, or if you disagree with their review decision, a Houston Social Security attorney can help you file a lawsuit in federal court to have your case re-examined.
Get Help Today
The Social Security disability appeals process can be complex and frustrating for those who try to do it alone. At the the Law Offices Of M. Stanley Whitehead, our Houston Social Security attorneys have years of experience in assisting at all levels of the process and 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.