Social Security Disability Denied? Tips on Appealing a Denial
Has your application for Social Security Disability benefits been denied? If so, there is no reason to panic. Since there are several levels of reconsideration and appeal, there is a strong chance that your claim will be approved further along the application process. You must appeal in writing within 60 days of receiving notice of your application's denial. The Social Security Administration's (SSA) letter to you about the decision regarding your claim will contain instructions on how to file for an appeal. There are four levels of appeals: Reconsideration – A complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first decision. Hearing by a judge of administrative law – If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you may ask for a hearing conducted by an administrative law judge who had no part in the original decision. Review by the Appeals Council – If you disagree with the hearing decision, you may have your case reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Council. Review by Federal Court – If you disagree with the Appeals Council's decision or they decide not to review your case, you may file a lawsuit in a Federal District Court. Starting Your Appeal To start your appeal, call your local Social Security field office and let them know that you want to appeal the decision that was made regarding your disability benefits. They will send you paperwork to fill out and let you know where you need to send the forms. Filing for reconsideration is the quickest. During the reconsideration process, your case is reviewed by a medical consultant and examiner. It could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for a decision to be made. Other levels of appeal typically take much longer, requiring you to wait a year or more for a hearing or decision. Should You Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney? Many people handle their own Social Security appeals, but if you want to ensure that your appeal is filed correctly while avoiding costly mistakes, working with a Social Security Disability attorney is recommended. An attorney will help you gather medical evidence, represent you in court, request that you be considered for other benefits, and protect your right to a fair hearing. Simply put, a qualified Social Security Disability attorney has the skills and experience necessary to help you achieve a favorable outcome.