Guide to the Social Security Appeals ProcessGuide to the Social Security Appeals Process

Denied Social Security Disability benefits? You’re not alone. Over 60% percent of all applicants are initially denied benefits. However many of these applicants ultimately receive benefits by appealing their case. The appeals process is not an easy task to conquer, but don’t fear! We have outlined the appeals process below to help you tackle it with confidence and our disability attorneys are willing to help you too. Fill out the form to request assistance.

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There are four levels in the appeals process. The first level is the Reconsideration level. During reconsideration, all evidence submitted for the original decision, plus any new additional evidence, will be reviewed by someone who did not take part in the first decision. If the original decision by the SSA is found to be wrong, they will change it.

The next level is the Hearing level. If you disagree with the decision determined during the Reconsideration level, you may ask for a hearing which is conducted by an administrative law judge. At the hearing the judge will allow you to explain your case and may question you and your witnesses about your disability. Witnesses for your case can include persons such as a friend, relative or a medical or vocational expert who knows about your disability. In addition, the SSA will have witnesses to refute your testimony and explain why you should not be provided benefits. A skilled Social Security disability attorney can be a huge asset to you during the Hearing Level.

After the Hearing level, if you still disagree with the decision given by the SSA, you may ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will look at all of your prior requests for appeal reviews. In reviewing all prior requests, if they feel that the decision made during hearing is correct, they will deny the request for a review of your case by the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, they will decide the case themselves or send it to an administrative judge for further review. A letter will be sent to you, notifying you of the decision reached by the Appeals Council. The final level of the appeal process is a Federal Court review. If you disagree with all the decisions made on your claim or you were denied a review by the Appeals Council, you can file lawsuit in a Federal District Court. In order to appeal your case at the District Court level, you must have an attorney who can file a case against the SSA. At this level a district court judge will review your case and notify you in writing about the decision of your appeal.

As you can see, the appeals process can be confusing and time-consuming, which is why it is beneficial to have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney on your side to ensure that all decisions are made properly. For more information about the benefits of having an attorney or to receive assistance in filing an appeal, contact The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers at 1-800-THE-FIRM (843-3476) or fill out the form on this page.

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