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Appealing Social Security Disability Denials

Appealing Denials of Social Security Disability Claims

Social Security Disability benefits can serve as a lifeline for a person whose disability prevents them from working. However, obtaining these benefits is no easy matter. Approximately 60 percent of Social Security Disability claims are denied at the initial level, leaving these denied applicants to consider their next options.

Fortunately, denied claims can be appealed with the help of skilled legal counsel. A Jacksonville SSD lawyer at Farah & Farah can provide you with high-quality representation and fight for your disability benefits. Let us do all the work for you.

Levels of Appeal for Denied Social Security Disability Claims

There are four levels of appeal for denied Social Security Disability claims:

Step 1: Reconsideration

The first step in response to a denied disability claim is a request for reconsideration.  When you file this request, a different Social Security Administration (SSA) claims examiner will reconsider your claim. The new claims examiner must not have been involved in your initial claim review.

If the new claims examiner has any questions during reconsideration, your attorney can respond on your behalf.  Moreover, the examiner can consider new evidence in support of your claim. Unfortunately, reconsideration still results in denial 80 percent of the time.

Step 2: ALJ Hearing

If an applicant does not win at the reconsideration level, the next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The applicant must attend the ALJ hearing with their attorney. It is an informal, private hearing that does not take place in a traditional courtroom.

At the hearing, the ALJ will hear your testimony and consider all evidence in your claim file. In addition, the ALJ may require testimony from expert witnesses, such as medical or vocational experts. Your attorney can question you and the witnesses, as well as argue your case to the judge.

Step 3: Appeals Council

Although more applicants have success at the ALJ hearing level of appeal, you may still need to appeal an unfavorable decision. The next level of appeal is a request for review by the Social Security Appeals Council.

The Appeals Council is not required to grant your request for review. If it does review your appeal, the Appeals Council can confirm or reverse the ALJ claim decision. The council could also remand your case back to the ALJ for another hearing.

Step 4: Federal Court

A Social Security Disability applicant who loses at the Appeals Council level can file a lawsuit in federal court.

A Social Security Disability Lawyer is Essential for Appeals

The appeal process for Social Security Disability is complex and involved, with many procedural requirements. It is also a lengthy process. Your Social Security Disability lawyer can navigate this system on your behalf and keep the fight going for as long as necessary. Social Security is not just a lifeline; it is something you paid for out of your wages while you were able to work. It is not a gift or a handout – it’s something you earned.

The Social Security Disability Law Firm of Farah & Farah is Here to Serve You

If your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, talk to a Jacksonville SSD lawyer at Farah & Farah about appealing the claim. Even if you have not yet applied for disability benefits, our attorneys can handle your claim from the beginning. Contact our office today. You have enough to deal with; let us handle the government.