There are a number of reasons why a social security disability claim may be denied. You may have filled out the forms incorrectly or failed to provide enough medical documentation to substantiate your claim. Regardless, when you receive the denial, you may find yourself wondering what happens next. If you received a denial, you may wish to appeal the decision. Here are a few frequently asked questions you may have about appealing a social security disability claim that was denied.
How Long Do You Have to File an Appeal?
You have 60 days from the date your social security disability claim was denied to file an appeal. In most states, the initial appeal is called a reconsideration review. This is the first step in the appeals process. When you file this type of review, you are asking someone in the office to review your claim with new information that you may have submitted. This may be another medical report to substantiate your claim, new forms correcting an error, or a new brief further outlining your symptoms and disability.
How Many Appeals Can Be Filed?
When your social security disability claim is initially denied, you have the opportunity to appeal the decision. However, an initial appeal, also called a reconsideration review, is not the end-all and be-all when it comes to appeals. In most states, there are four different appeal levels. The first is the reconsideration review, where your claim is reviewed by another adjuster in the office based on the new evidence you submit. If your claim is denied again, or you live in a state that has done away with reconsideration reviews, your next step is to have an ALJ hearing.
An ALJ hearing is a hearing before an administrative law judge. You have the chance to present evidence to this judge and sway him or her that your claim should be accepted. This judge can either approve your claim or deny it. If the judge denies your claim, you can once again appeal the decision.
If you appeal an ALJ hearing decision, your claim will go before the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will listen to why you feel that the judge's decision is not valid. They then have the option of reversing the judge's decision and accepting your claim, ordering a second ALJ hearing be held, or denying your claim.
If the Appeals Council denies your claim, you can once again appeal the claim. When this is done, you can file a suit in a federal district court. This case will go before a judge, and their decision is final.
Does Having an Attorney Increase Your Chances of Winning an Appeal?
If you have received a social security disability denial, you may be considering hiring an attorney. However, you may be wondering if a disability lawyer increases your chances of winning an appeal. Hiring an attorney can increase your chances of winning an appeal. Social security programs and regulations are complex, and the average person does not know how to prepare for an appeals hearing. If you attempt to file on your own, you may be lacking a brief that fully details the details surrounding your condition and your inability to work. You may be lacking medical documentation that substantiates your disability and proves you are unable to work. Or you may not be prepared for questions that you will be asked at these hearings. An attorney can help ensure that you have everything you need to prove you are disabled and that you are prepared to answer questions related to your disability and how it impacts your ability to work. Having this information can greatly increase your chances of winning an appeal.
If you have received a social security disability claim denial, you may be unsure of what to do next. Getting answers to the questions you have about the appeals process will help you prepare for the next step in your case as you prepare to fight for the benefits you may be entitled to. For help with your social security disability appeal, contact a law office like Horn & Kelley, PC Attorneys at Law.