Out of over six million residents in Georgia, approximately four percent receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and thousands more will apply for it this year. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of claims results in the denial of many disability applications. In the state, sixty percent of Social Security claims are rejected by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If you are unsuccessful in filing for disability benefits, there are several levels of appeals that you could pursue. However, due to the complexity of the appeal process, you may need assistance from an experienced attorney to improve your chances of receiving benefits. If your request for disability aid was disputed, a Fulton County SSDI appeals lawyer can outline your options and provide legal support in contesting the decision.
The first step to appeal a denial of a disability claim is to request that the SSA reconsider its decision. In a reconsideration, the SSA reviews the information provided by the disabled claimant in their initial application. At this stage of the appeals process, an SSDI appeals lawyer can review the claimant’s file to confirm that all of the necessary information was presented to the SSA. Skilled legal counsel can also determine if additional evidence, such as the opinion of a Fulton County medical expert, would improve the claimant’s case.
If the SSA’s decision to deny a disability claim is upheld during the reconsideration, the claimant may request a formal court hearing. In Georgia, the case will be heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ) who is appointed by the SSA and works Office of Disability Adjudication Review.
During the hearing, the ALJ will take a fresh look at the disability claim and make a decision after reviewing the evidence. A seasoned attorney in the vicinity can explain the hearing process, familiarize the claimant with local court rules and procedure, and present evidence to the ALJ. Legal support may also be useful in contesting a doctor’s findings if the claimant disagrees with the medical records regarding their disability.
If the ALJ gives an unfavorable decision on a disability claim, the claimant may request a review by the Appeals Council, which consists of administrative appeals judges and officers. The judge will then determine if the ALJ made an error when denying the disability benefits at the hearing level.
During the Appeals Council review, assistance from a knowledgeable SSDI attorney could be crucial. A retained lawyer can submit a brief to the Council on behalf of a Fulton County resident explaining the ALJ’s errors in disputing the disability claim. Identifying legal and factual errors at this stage can be extremely challenging, but a dedicated SSDI appeals lawyer is equipped to review the evidence and determine why the ALJ made an erroneous decision.
If the reconsideration, ALJ hearing, and Appeals Council review do not result in a favorable decision for the claimant, their final option is an action in Federal District Court. To make their case, the claimant may have to appear for a trial in which a U.S. District Court judge will make the final determination of the disability claim.
Federal District Court cases are complicated and may require a great deal of legal research. A local disability lawyer can conduct the necessary research, write a brief, and appear in court on behalf of the claimant. In Georgia, the attorney may even request that the government pay the claimant’s legal fees if disability benefits are granted.
The SSDI appeals process can be overwhelming, especially to those struggling due to their disability. A Fulton County SSDI appeals lawyer can be a supportive legal advocate at every stage of the proceedings. Our firm’s attorneys have experience dealing with the SSA and can help assert your case for the financial support you need. Call today for a consultation.