If the Social Security Administration (SSA) has denied your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you may need an experienced Alpharetta SSDI appeals lawyer to help you with your claim. A skilled Social Security disability attorney will work to investigate your case to determine the reason for the denial, gather the medical evidence necessary to support your claim, review your work history and earnings, and file an appeal on your behalf.
Many individuals who apply for SSDI benefits receive an initial denial of their claims. According to the Social Security Administration’s website, claimants have 60 days to appeal the denial. This is called a request for reconsideration and is the first level of appeal for SSDI benefits.
A medical examiner who was not involved in the first denial of the claim performs this review and can consider new medical evidence that was not available to include with the original application for benefits. With the assistance of an Alpharetta social security disability appeal lawyer, a claimant will work to ensure that all pertinent medical evidence is included in the request for reconsideration.
If a request for reconsideration results in a subsequent denial, the next level of appeal requires claimants to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), who is an attorney that works for the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. Claimants have 60 days from the date of the denial of their request for reconsideration to ask the SSA for an ALJ hearing.
This hearing gives claimants a chance to argue their cases in person before the ALJ, who will take a totally fresh look at their case. The ALJ often uses a vocational expert to help evaluate a claimant’s ability to perform any past relevant work and/or other jobs that exist in the national economy they could perform with hypothetical limitations. Since an ALJ hearing often involves complex medical reports and the testimony of medical and vocational experts, an SSDI appeals lawyer in Alpharetta will be instrumental in a positive outcome.
If the ALJ hearing still results in a denial, claimants can turn to the Appeals Council, which is the final administrative avenue of appeal. The Appeals Council would only consider an appeal, if there was a flaw in the ALJ’s decision. This level of appeal is also a prerequisite to further pursuing an SSDI claim in federal court.
Once claimants have exhausted all administrative appeals through the SSA, including the request for reconsideration, ALJ hearing, and Appeals Council, their only remaining option is to file a civil suit in U.S. District Court. The filing of a civil suit in federal court must occur within 60 days of receiving the denial letter from the Appeals Council.
At this level of appeal, the applicant must present—in the form of a written brief and oral arguments before a judge—solid legal reasons why the ALJ and the Appeals Council were wrong in denying the appeal. The federal judge reviewing the case would not consider any new evidence or information, only a transcript of the ALJ hearing and the same medical evidence presented to the ALJ during the hearing.
Most of the time, a successful federal district court appeal regarding a denial of SSDI benefits results in the judge sending the case back to an ALJ for further review. The judge can also decide to uphold or agree with the denial of SSDI benefits. Finally, the judge can decide to overturn the denial altogether and change the decisions of the ALJ and Appeals Council.
The ALJ federal judge sends an appealed denial back to may be the same one who considered the case at a previous level of appeal, or a different person altogether. Either way, the ALJ would decide to either award or deny SSDI benefits to the claimant. If the ALJ again denies the claim, the case can go through the same appeals process, just as it did before.
Our experienced SS disability attorneys understand how difficult your situation can be when you receive a denial of your claim from SSA. An Alpharetta SSDI appeals lawyer will work with you to strengthen your claim for benefits throughout the appeals process. Call our social security disability law firm today to find out what options may be available in your case.