If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your claim for disability benefits, do not despair. It has almost become routine practice for the SSA to deny initial claims and force applicants to file one or more appeals in order to obtain benefits.
Perhaps the most significant part of the average appeal process is a hearing before an administrative judge. However, requesting an Alpharetta Social Security disability hearing requires some preparation and preliminary steps in order to succeed. A qualified lawyer could help you throughout the hearing process for the best chance of a favorable outcome.
Before a Hearing May be Requested
Federal law gives denied SSDI applicants the right to appeal decisions made by the SSA regarding eligibility for benefits. In addition, if SSA determines that they overpaid benefits or that benefits should be discontinued, that decision also may be reviewed.
However, prior to a case being heard by an administrative law judge, the applicant must first request and undergo a reconsideration determination. During a reconsideration, the facts of the case are reviewed by a staff member who was not involved with the initial determination. After the reconsideration, the agency is supposed to send a letter explaining the reasoning behind the decision.
If the applicant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the reconsideration, then it is possible to request a disability hearing. Depending on the circumstances, the decision of the administrative law judge at the hearing may also be appealed, if necessary.
How to Request a Hearing
After an initial denial and reconsideration, an applicant for disability benefits may request a hearing in a number of different ways. While all requests must be made in writing, an applicant may request a hearing online through the SSA website.
Those who do not wish to apply online may download forms, fill them out, and mail them in. Alternatively, a hearing may be requested by sending a letter, or an applicant could seek assistance from the SSA or an experienced disability representative to ensure the process is completed correctly and that supporting evidence is available for full consideration.
Before beginning the appeal, the SSA recommends having all relevant information on hand, including:
- A list of current medications
- Updated information about medical tests, treatments, doctor visits, and hospitalizations
- A description of changes in medical conditions, work, and activities
- Documentation to support the initial claim, including medical results, written statements, and forms
Time Limits for Requesting a Hearing
In most cases, an applicant must request a hearing within 60 days of receiving notice of the SSA’s decision on the reconsideration. The SSA assumes it takes no more than five days for the applicant to receive the notice from the time it was mailed. So, unless an applicant can prove they received notification later, the time limit is 65 days from the date the SSA mailed the notification.
If a request for hearing is not filed in a timely fashion, the appeal may be dismissed and any right to further review will be lost. However, it is possible to request a hearing after 60 days if good cause is shown for the delay.
Assistance Requesting an Alpharetta Social Security Disability Hearing
In many cases, requesting a Social Security disability hearing is an important step toward obtaining disability benefits in Alpharetta. Furthermore, the factual findings established in the administrative hearing would be used if any subsequent appeals are necessary, so it is important to ensure that the best evidence is prepared and presented at the hearing.
A hearing before an administrative law judge is a formal legal procedure. While the SSA does not require applicants to be represented by an attorney during the process, the agency makes it clear that all applicants have the right to make use of legal assistance. Further information may be found in SSA Publication No. 05-10075., or by speaking with a Social Security disability attorney from our team.