Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a lengthy and complex process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a set of strict requirements for applications and approvals. Having a lawyer for a social security disability appeal can help you get approved if you have previously been denied SSDI.
SSDI Cases Are Often Denied Initially
While this may not be the news you are looking for, a large portion of SSDI applications are denied. The SSA denied an average of 67% of the claims submitted in 2021. This number varies throughout the years, but don’t let this statistic discourage you. Some denials are for medical reasons, while others are for non-medical reasons. It is not the end of the road if you are denied SSDI. Hiring a lawyer for social security disability appeal will make the process go smoother and increase the likelihood that you will be approved.
The SSDI Appeals Process Is Complex
If your application for SSDI benefits is denied, you have the right to make an appeal. According to the SSA, there are four levels in the appeals process:
- Reconsideration by the state Disability Determination Services (DDS)
- A hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Review by the Appeals Council
- A federal court review
Reconsideration By The State DDS
This is the first step of the SSDI appeal process. During the reconsideration step, your case will be reviewed in a similar manner as the initial review. A disability examiner and medical team will thoroughly examine the information while allowing you to provide additional evidence to support your application. Your claim could be approved during this first appeal if you were simply missing some medical records or other supporting documents.
If your SSDI application is still not approved, you can request a hearing before the ALJ. During this hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify regarding your case. A judge will ask you and any medical experts questions about your condition. A vocational expert will also evaluate hypothetical questions asked by the judge. If you reach this step in the appeal process, it is crucial to have the support of a disability attorney to help you prepare for the hearing.
Appeals Council Review
If you are not satisfied with the decision made during the ALJ hearing, you can request a review by the Appeals Council (AC). This council consists of appeals judges responsible for considering all evidence submitted along with the ALJ’s findings. At this point, the council can either deny, grant, or dismiss the review request. The AC can then modify, uphold, or reverse the actions of the judge. It can also remand the case for another ALJ hearing.
Federal Court Review
Once you have the Appeals Council’s decision, you can file action in a federal district court within 60 days. If you are still not approved for SSDI, you can take your case to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hiring a Lawyer for Social Security Disability Appeal
As you can see, the appeals process requires legal expertise. Hiring a lawyer for a social security disability appeal will significantly increase your chances of being approved and take much of the pressure off of you. From organizing documents, to appearing in court, to an overarching knowledge and expertise in disability law, a disability attorney is going to be by your side throughout the process, giving you peace of mind and a much higher chance of successfully appealing.
Call The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill
The disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill are very experienced in the SSDI application and appeal process. We understand that this is a complicated process and can be intimidating for some people. We offer assistance at every step of the process. We can help you gather documentation, organize your appeal, and prepare you for any hearings. If you have been denied, don’t hesitate to schedule a free evaluation today to see how we can help.