If the Social Security Administration has denied your application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, discontinued your benefits, or said that they overpaid your benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision in several successive stages. However, you must follow applicable deadlines to preserve your right to appeal, and you must follow appropriate procedures to appeal a denial successfully.
An Atlanta SSI denial lawyer can help at any stage in this process. Once retained, a hearing claims advocate who understands how to make the most of the opportunities offered during the appeals process can start working right away to help you achieve your goals.
The first step to take after receiving an SSI denial is to request an official reconsideration by the Social Security Administration (SSA). During reconsideration, staff members of the agency will review the file and determine whether they believe the initial ruling was correct.
The person seeking SSI benefits may file additional evidence to support the claim, and that extra evidence might persuade agency staff to change their determination of eligibility. An Atlanta SSI denial attorney can help obtain and submit documentation to make a stronger case for the award of benefits.
In some cases, it is possible to receive a different decision on reconsideration, since the information will be evaluated by different staff than those who made the initial decision. However, because the SSA staff are required to apply strict standards, often a reconsideration results in a negative outcome.
The next appeal after a reconsideration is a hearing before an administrative judge. The judge is not required to apply the same determination standards as SSA staff, and often judges are more likely to grant an award of SSI benefits.
An applicant may present evidence for the hearing, but it should be submitted in advance to give the judge time to review it. This will usually be the last opportunity to present evidence to demonstrate eligibility, so it is often important to take advantage by obtaining and presenting the best available evidence.
During the hearing, an attorney or other advocate may provide assistance and speak on behalf of the applicant. Although the hearing may be conducted in a plain room like an office and there will be no jury, it is a formal recorded proceeding like a trial. Accordingly, both sides would have the chance to make statements supporting their position.
Review by Appeals Council and Court Review
If the administrative judge issues an unfavorable ruling after the hearing, the applicant may ask the SSA Appeals Council to review the decision. The Council may overturn the judge’s ruling, affirm the decision, or decline to review the case.
If the outcome is not what an applicant hoped for, an SSI denial lawyer in Atlanta can assist in filing a claim in federal court. Decisions made by the court would be based on evidence presented earlier, making it essential to locate and present the right evidence as soon in the process as possible.
Work with an Experienced Atlanta SSI Denial Attorney
When you need SSI benefits to help provide your basic needs, it can be extremely discouraging to receive a denial notice from the SSA. However, it is worth noting that the agency frequently denies initial claims, particularly when they involve a determination of disability.
An Atlanta SSI denial lawyer can provide advice and assistance with appealing unfavorable decisions on a range of issues. Time is critical, so it is best to avoid delay in seeking advice and taking action after denial of an SSI claim. To learn how an experienced legal advocate can help in your case, call now.