Gwinnett County residents who have been employed long-term and paid Social Security tax are entitled to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to help them if they become fully disabled and are no longer able to work. However, the process of obtaining those benefits is often frustrating, lengthy, and confusing.
Even worse, many applicants have their claims denied, often more than once. Unfortunately, SSDI denials seem to be routine for the Social Security Administration (SSA), which administers SSDI benefits.
Fortunately, however, there are numerous avenues of appeal that a knowledgeable Social Security disability representative could help you pursue if the SSA denies your SSDI claim. A Gwinnett SSDI denial lawyer can assist you in facing your denial regardless of where you are in the process.
Understanding the SSDI Claims Process
Although the SSA website makes the process seem simple, there is a substantial amount of work that goes into a successful application for SSDI benefits. Applicants must prove that they are qualified to receive benefits, so documentation is needed to show sufficient employment history and a debilitating medical condition that meets the definition of “total disability” by SSA standards.
Applications for SSDI benefits may be filed online, or an applicant may schedule an interview to apply by phone or in person at their local SSA office, which for Gwinnett County is located in Norcross. To ensure that they have sufficient evidence, many applicants find it helpful to work with a local SSDI denials attorney right from the start of the application process.
What Can be Done to Challenge a Denial from the SSA?
If the SSA issues a denial of the application, the applicant has several chances to appeal. Many people in Gwinnett think of appeals as involving a lawsuit, but although an SSDI denial may require a lawsuit at some point, the first avenues of appeal go through the SSA.
Applicants whose claims are initially denied may seek a reconsideration of the decision by SSA staff who were not part of the original determination. New evidence may be submitted for the reconsideration, and a Gwinnett attorney experienced with SSDI denials should be able to review the initial decision to determine what additional information to provide for the reconsideration.
Administrative Hearings in Gwinnett County
If the reconsideration is not successful, the applicant may request an administrative hearing. This hearing would be held before an administrative law judge (ALJ) but in a less formal setting than a federal courtroom. The hearing is the last opportunity to present new evidence, so it is vitally important to ensure that the best possible factual record is put forth at this stage of the proceedings.
In many cases, SSDI applications are denied due to lack of sufficient evidence that the applicant’s medical condition results in full long-term disability, but a skilled SSDI denial lawyer in the area could make every effort to obtain persuasive evidence for the hearing.
If benefits are denied after the hearing, there is still one more appeals possible at the agency level. Specifically, an applicant could seek to have the SSA Appeals Council review the decision of the administrative law judge.
What Options are Available after All Administrative Remedies are Exhausted?
If the SSA Appeals Council declines to review the ALJ’s decision or issues an unfavorable ruling, the denial of benefits may be appealed by filing a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court. The court’s ruling on the SSDI denial is usually based primarily on the written briefs submitted at the start of the case, so it is important to ensure that arguments are fully developed and supported. It is highly advisable to have the brief drafted by an local hearing claims advocate with experience appealing SSDI denials in federal court to ensure that proper procedures are followed and opportunities are not missed.
Consult a Gwinnett County SSDI Benefits Denial Attorney
While applicants who have had their claim for SSDI benefits denied do have multiple opportunities to appeal the denial, delays can be costly. Moreover, chances to obtain and present new evidence are limited. This is why it is advisable to seek the services of a Gwinnett SSDI denial lawyer. Call today to learn how an experienced Social Security disability law firm could make a difference in your claim.