If your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has been denied by a disability examiner or judge, you still have options to get the benefits you need. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a multi-step appeals process, meaning that even more than one denial of the same application does not spell the end of your chances to receive disability.
The downside to getting denied and filing an appeal is that each review of your application can take several months or longer. For this reason, you should take every step you can to maximize your chances of an approval before you file for SSDI or SSI. You can do this by making sure that your application includes all of the information you need and medical evidence to prove your disability. You should also organize it in an easy-to-follow manner so the SSA employee reviewing it can find what they are looking for.
A good disability attorney can help you organize and file your application the first time or represent you during your first, second, or third appeal. At the Disability Advantage Group, our lawyers specialize in disability cases. We can put our knowledge and resources to work for you, helping you build a strong application based on your unique circumstances.
For a free consultation with a disability lawyer, call us at 865-566-0800 today.
What Happens During the First Appeal?
When you submit your initial application, a claims examiner begins the review process by making several determinations based on your information. First, they determine if your medical condition meets the SSA’s requirements to receive disability. If it does, the examiner then looks to make sure the evidence you submitted does a thorough job making your case. They also verify that you meet the work history or income requirements of the program you are applying for, either SSDI or SSI. Depending on the size of the SSA’s backlog at the time you submit your application, this process can take anywhere from three to five months or longer.
If you receive a denial, your first appeal option involves filing a request for reconsideration. When you submit your request, you have the option of submitting additional evidence that you feel might strengthen your claim. A different claims examiner will examine your file and make a determination on it.
What About the Second Appeal?
If you receive a denial on your reconsideration appeal, you have the option of appealing your case in person in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is an attractive option because it offers you the opportunity to argue the unique merits of your claim and explain any shortcomings that might have caused your previous two denials. You get to do this in person, rather than sending off a packet of information and hoping the person who receives it views it in a favorable light.
Moreover, you may have attorney representation in your ALJ hearing. This is an option you should strongly consider. One of our attorneys can present a compelling case for you at your hearing. We can navigate the legal process for you and fight for your benefits.
Can I File a Third Appeal?
If the ALJ also denies your claim, your third option is to submit your case for review by the Appeals Council. This is a group formed for the special purpose of reviewing ALJ decisions in disability cases.
At this step, it is very difficult to receive an approval, as the Appeals Council rarely overrides a judge’s decision. Accordingly, if an ALJ denies your appeal, you may want to file a new claim and effectively start the process over. This could give you a higher chance of success than an Appeals Council review.
An added benefit of starting over with a new claim is that you can use any valuable feedback you picked up from your previous experience. This can help you understand where your application fell short and how to strengthen it upon resubmission.
We can help you decide what to do if you have received multiple denials. The one thing you should not do is give up, as there is always a next step in the process.
How Can I Schedule a Free Consultation With a Disability Appeal Lawyer?
Whether you are a first-time applicant or you are working on your second or third appeal, the legal team at the Disability Advantage Group, can help. We have won benefits for many clients on appeal and can put our resources to work for you. Call 865-566-0800 for a free consultation.