What Is The Social Security Appeals Process?

by | Mar 17, 2016 | Law

There is a very good chance that your initial application for Social Security disability benefits will be denied, if yours is, you are in good company as at least 70 percent are. These is a variety of reasons why the rate of denial is so high; perhaps your income is too high to qualify or perhaps your disability is not expected to last for 12 months.

Whatever the reason, the initial denial of benefits is not the end of the line. As a matter of fact, it is the beginning of the appeals process. The process is complicated, this is when having skilled disability lawyers in Gloucester come into the picture; with a lawyer by your side your chances of winning your rightful benefits during appeal are greatly enhanced, without a lawyer winning can be difficult.

There are four levels of appeal:

* Review the initial application: When your initial application is denied the first step is to appeal for reconsideration. You will be given sixty days to do this after you are notified of the denial.

Your file is given to another individual at the SSA to review. Only about 5 percent of those that ask for a review get approval.

* Administrative hearing: If you are amongst the majority of applicants that are denied approval at the reconsideration stage the next step is to have your disability lawyers in Gloucester arrange for a hearing in the presence of an Administrative Law Judge. This is not going to happen overnight, at last count there were almost 800,000 people awaiting their day in front of a judge. Although the wait is long, about two thirds of applicants are granted disability benefits after the hearing has concluded.

Although it is possible to arrange the hearing to be conducted via video conferencing it is to your advantage to appear in person, rarely is the hearing held further than 75 miles from your home.

* Appeals Council: If you are amongst the one third of applicants that are denied at the hearing stage, if you disagree with the results you can ask for an Appeals Council review of the decision. The council only looks at the law judge’s decision to see if there was a flaw, they will not send it back or overturn it if the judge’s conclusion was correct.

The fourth and final appeal is to have your disability lawyers in Gloucester prepare a lawsuit in a US District Court. Less than one percent of all disability applicants go so far as to sue in court.

If you suffer a physical or mental disability you can apply for Social Security benefits, however, it is best to have legal representation. If you are looking for disability lawyers in Gloucester you are invited to contact the Law Office of Elizabeth A. Patterson.

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