Should You File a Second Social Security Disability Appeal
Many people give up right away if their initial Social Security disability claim is denied. Some go as far as to file a first appeal, or request for reconsideration, that is handled by their state's Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency, but if that also gets denied they think, “Why bother filing a second appeal?” After all, it seems pointless to file another appeal if you've already been denied benefits twice. But what many claimants don't realize is that over half of all disability denials are overturned on the second appeal. That figure might not sound impressive, but it is if you consider that around 70% of initial applications and 85% of first appeals are denied. The second disability appeal is a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Statistically speaking, ALJs are far more likely to rule in your favor than DDS examiners, who handle your initial claim and first appeal. DDS examiners are less likely to approve your claim because they make decisions based on your medical records and don't speak to you in person. Therefore, you don't have a chance to describe the severity of your symptoms. Furthermore, your first appeal is unlikely to get approved without the addition of new and significant medical evidence since it's also handled by a DDS examiner. Why the Second Appeal Makes a Difference The second level of appeal consists of a hearing, which gives you the chance to talk to an ALJ about your symptoms and how they limit your ability to perform daily activities. Furthermore, at a hearing, you can answer any questions that the ALJ has about your impairment. You also have the option to hire a Social Security disability attorney to represent you at your hearing. An attorney can develop a persuasive argument and present your medical evidence in the best possible manner. Another reason why the second appeal is different from the first appeal is that the statement from your treating physician carries more weight. The statement provided by your treating physician gets little consideration on the first appeal because DDS examiners tend to give preference to the medical opinions provided by the doctors who work with them. And since those doctors never meet you in person and base their opinions solely on your medical records, it's a major disadvantage. So, if your initial Social Security disability claim and request for reconsideration have been denied, don't give up. File a second appeal because it'll give you a chance to meet face-to-face with the person making a decision regarding your claim. If you would like an attorney's advice regarding your second appeal or want to hire a lawyer to represent at your hearing, please call Atlanta Social Security disability attorney Louis B. Lusk at 800.883.7043 or fill out this online contact form to schedule a free consultation.