What would you do if your claim for Social Security Disability benefits was rejected by the Social Security Administration? If you were familiar with the statistics for denial of first time applications, you would not find your denial a surprise. In fact, according to reports, more than half of SSD claims get denied each year. Denials can stem from minor mistakes in the application or from less than valid reasons denying your claim of disability.
If the Social Security Administration denies your application, you may be asking what is the next step? Following are some steps to take to have your case reconsidered.
When the application gets denied, it is imperative to pursue an appeal. To do so, you need to file a formal Request for Reconsideration. This can be a reconsideration of the original claim or a reconsideration of a continuing disability claim.
If this is denied, your next level of appeal is to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Another formal request, this time a request for hearing, must be filed within 60 days of receiving your denial at the previous stage. If you make it to this stage, statistics say that your chances of being approved by the ALJ are about 50%. However, if you are still unsuccessful, you still have options. You may appeal the ALJ’s decision to the SSA Appeals Council. However the review in these cases is very limited and the vast majority are dismissed.
When the Appeals Council returns an unfavorable decision, the applicant’s only recourse is to file a lawsuit in the United States Federal District courts.Federal lawsuits can be expensive and time consuming. However, at this stage of the process it may be your only hope of having your claim approved. Before considering a federal lawsuit, an applicant would be wise to discuss their case with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.
If you are denied by the Appeals Council, or if the Appeals Council did not opt to review your case, the final level of the appeals process is to file suit against the Social Security Administration in United States District Court. Your attorney will ensure that your case is filed in the court of proper jurisdiction. Usually this is where you reside or have your business.
You will be charged a filing fee to start the complaint, however this fee may be waived for indigency. In addition, you must send a registered mail, summons issued by the court, and copies of the complaint filed to the SSA.
Make sure that the complaint provides the reasons why you are appealing the denial from the administrative law judge (ALJ). As SSA checks your complaint, it will file the response, setting forth why the application was denied. The SSA will often provide the court and claimant with a copy of the SSD hearing transcript that should assert the fundamental reasons why the SSA thinks that you are not an eligible candidate to receive SSDI benefits.
Often these cases are decided solely on the briefs and related documentation submitted by the parties. However in specific scenarios, the court might request an oral argument where both sides have to come before the court to present the arguments. In the end, the judge renders the final decision according to the oral arguments presented.
Once the parties have made their respective cases, the federal judge will render one of three verdicts. The first option is to remand the case. This means that the judge will send the case back to the administrative law judge for another look. When remanded back, the case will include specific instructions from the federal judge on which issues are to be reconsidered. The second option is to uphold the decision. This means to agree with the administrative law judge. Here, your only option is an appeal to the federal circuit court. The final option is for the federal judge to reverse or change the decision of the administrative law judge. This results in a legal victory for the applicant and the approval of benefits.
Getting disapproval of the application might itself be disheartening and frustrating. Sometimes a denial results in the applicant feeling fear and anxiety. However with an experienced disability benefits attorney by your side, you will have support, guidance, and counsel through every step of the process.
An experienced benefits lawyer can assist you in receiving the SSD benefits even when the SSA rejects your claim. Your attorney can represent you at hearings and interviews, and fight for you at every step. While you always have the right to represent yourself at every step of the process, as your case progresses to higher appeal levels, the greater likelihood you will want an attorney by your side. This is especially true if you take your case before the United States Federal Courts.
You can lean on a trustworthy attorney for legal advice throughout the entire procedure. Book a free consultation with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney and learn what can best be done to handle your case. Don’t wait another minute, contact our offices today.
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