No matter how well-qualified an applicant may appear, people in Gwinnett County who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits far too often have their claims denied. Fortunately, there are many ways to appeal an SSDI decision that has not gone your way.
An experienced Gwinnett County SSDI appeals lawyer may know the right procedure to follow based on the circumstances surrounding a particular type of denial. The nature of an SSDI appeal depends on the grounds for denial as well as the venue issuing a denial, so consulting with an experienced disability hearing attorney about what to do in your specific case is usually a good move.
The SSDI program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is headquartered near Washington, DC but has offices around the country. When the SSA denies an application for SSDI benefits, the first place to appeal the decision is within the agency itself by seeking a “reconsideration.”
During a reconsideration, agency staff members review the information presented with the initial application and may consider additional evidence as well. It is important to examine a denial carefully to determine where the deficiencies occurred and what information is needed to cure the defects since the SSA staff members who review an application on reconsideration are usually different than the staff members who issued the original decision.
If the reconsideration process does not result in a favorable outcome, an applicant and their Gwinnett County SSDI appeals attorney may request an administrative hearing in which the case would be reviewed by a judge. However, the judge would not be found sitting in a courtroom, because the review is still considered an administrative review within the agency.
It is generally critical to ensure that the best possible evidence is presented at the administrative hearing. This is because if any subsequent appeals are necessary, they would generally be based on questions of law rather than questions of fact, which means new factual evidence would not be admitted. A skilled SSDI appeals lawyer in Gwinnett should be aware of this limitation and can work to build the best evidentiary case at this point.
If the administrative law judge returns an unsatisfactory ruling, the applicant may appeal by seeking review of the decision by the SSA Appeals Council. However, the council may decline to review the case if it believes that the judge’s ruling was fully supported and within SSA guidelines.
If the SSA Appeals Council refuses to review the results of the administrative hearing, or the review does not produce an acceptable outcome, an SSDI applicant may further appeal the matter by filing an action in federal court. Because the case is no longer within the realm of the SSA, procedures would be much different.
Much of the court case would be conducted through written arguments, including court briefs. These must be carefully constructed to include all the most relevant arguments and information. In many cases, the court decision would be based on the information submitted in writing rather than oral arguments in the courtroom.
Unlike other types of legal practice, disability advocates who handle SSDI appeals must be able to present persuasive arguments in a variety of venues, from administrative offices to federal courtrooms. If your claim for disability compensation was denied and you need to file an appeal, talk to a knowledgeable Gwinnett County SSDI appeals lawyer to find out your options. Call our SSDI law firm today to start working to make the best possible case for obtaining the benefits you deserve.