Getting disability is a complicated process, but most people win their claims at the appeal level when they go before an administrative law judge to present their cases in person. When your claim gets to this level, having an attorney in your corner to present your case and the evidence of your disability will greatly improve your chances of being approved for disability.
The Social Security Disability Appeal Process: Four Levels
There are four levels of appeals after your claim has been denied. When you receive your denial letter, read it carefully because it states why your claim was denied and what the deadline is for filing your appeal. If you miss the deadline, you will have to begin the whole process over again.
Level One: Request for Reconsideration.
Though some states do not allow this level, in most states, you can ask for reconsideration of your claim, and the reconsideration will be performed by a medical consultant and an examiner who were not part of the original assessment of your claim.
Level Two: A Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge.
If you were denied for disability again, you’ll receive a letter like the first one stating the deadline to appeal the decision. You must request the ALJ hearing within 60 days.
When you go to the ALJ hearing, you should have an attorney in your corner to help you present your medical and all other evidence. You have a good chance of being approved at the hearing because you (and your attorney) can present your case in person, and also call witnesses such as your physician(s) to testify on your behalf about your prognosis, your level of functioning and why you cannot work. You can bring a vocational expert, who can testify about your past work and why you cannot do it or any other work.
At this stage of the appeals process, it is a very good idea to have a lawyer for Social Security disability appeal who is experienced in presenting cases before the ALJ. Your attorney knows how these hearings usually go and also is experienced in what evidence to bring and which questions to ask you and other witnesses.
Level Three: Request a Review by the Appeals Council
Though a small percentage of claims are granted in an AC review, most often they deny claims at this stage. The AC is looking for procedural errors in your process or prejudice in hearing your case.
Level Four: Federal Court Review Hearing
This is the final level of appealing disability denial. Though you have a good chance of winning before a federal judge, suing in federal court is costly and takes time. Another option would be to refile your claim, and start the process over again. If you’ve gone through the process without an attorney, you might be better at it a second time around.
Isaacs & Isaacs Disability Attorneys Work on a Contingency Fee Basis
If you would like help going through this daunting process of obtaining benefits through the Social Security Administration, you should call Isaacs & Isaacs before you file a disability appeal. Our dedicated and experienced attorneys work on a contingency fee basis: we don’t get paid until and unless we win your claim.
You don’t have to face this process alone. You can call us at 800-800-8888 any time of the day or night, or fill out our online form for a free claim assessment with an experienced Isaacs & Isaacs disability attorney.