If you recently received a denial letter for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you are not alone. In fact, most people who apply for SSI benefits are denied on their first attempt. While you can file an appeal and request that your claim be reconsidered, it may be difficult if you’re unfamiliar with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) rules and procedures.

You can greatly improve your odds of successfully navigating the appellate process by retaining a Gwinnett SSI appeals lawyer. A qualified Social Security disability representative from our firm can provide crucial guidance on the appeals process, the evidence you may need to present to the SSA, and your options in the event of a subsequent denial of benefits.

Common Reasons for SSI Claim Denials in Gwinnett

The most common reason for SSI claim denials in our area is a failure to provide enough information about a condition and income in an initial application. You must prove that your condition satisfies the SSA’s definition of disability and meet very strict income restrictions in order to qualify for benefits. If the SSA cannot confirm whether you meet these criteria, the agency will reject your application.

Otherwise, many SSI claims are rejected on the basis of an applicant’s failure to adhere to their doctor’s instructions for treatment and follow instructions from SSA representatives. Some denials can be attributed to the filing of a new application in response to previous rejections rather than pursuing a formal appeal. An experienced attorney in your area can help you identify the issues with your application and submit an SSI appeal through the proper channels.

The Process of Appealing an SSI Denial

There are four stages to the SSI appeals process in Gwinnett, each of which must be taken in order.

Reconsideration

The first option is a reconsideration, which is a complete re-examination of an application by SSA staff members who were not part of the initial decision. This process can include a review of both previously submitted information as well as any new evidence you choose to provide.

Administrative Hearing

If this reconsideration does not result in an award of benefits, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ is responsible for examining previously submitted evidence and new information as well as interviewing expert witnesses. A Gwinnett SSI appeals attorney can be present during this hearing and help the applicant make their case for benefits.

Appeals Council

Following a rejection by the ALJ, you can advance your case to the Social Security Appeals Council, which will either second the ALJ’s decision, send the case back to the ALJ for further review, or make their own ruling. If this still does not yield a favorable outcome, the very last option for appealing an SSI claim denial is filing a lawsuit in federal District Court.

Federal Court Review

While federal court review might be the last option in the SSI appeals process, for many people, it represents the best chance at a favorable outcome. This level of appeal removes the process from the Social Security Administration entirely and gives you a fresh chance at getting the benefits you need.

This type of federal case must be filed in the district court where you live. It works like most other civil lawsuits in that a copy must be served on the Social Security Administration. This suit must be filed within 60 days of receiving a denial or unfavorable opinion from the Appeals Council.

The legal steps needed to prevail at this level of SSI appeals are complex. For the best chance at securing a positive result on the federal level, consider reaching out to a skilled disability representative.

Deadlines for an SSI Appeal in Gwinnett

There are deadlines that apply to SSI appeals in Gwinnett, and failure to comply with them could require you to start a new claim from scratch. The initial deadline to file an appeal is 60 days from the date of the denial.

However, the Social Security Administration may consider a late claim if the applicant proves that there was a substantial reason for missing the deadline and that they have “good cause” to have the application considered. Examples of good cause include:

  • Serious illness;
  • Death in the family;
  • Did not receive notice of denial;
  • Sent the appeal to the wrong agency in good faith; and
  • Supporting documents were destroyed by accident.

There is no guarantee that the SSA will accept a late filing, though, making the assistance of a nearby Social Security disability advocate imperative to the success of an SSI appeal.

Talk to a Gwinnett SSI Appeals Attorney Today

Having an application for SSI benefits rejected doesn’t mean you are not eligible to receive financial assistance from the Social Security Administration. In many situations, it simply means that you need to add more information about your disability to your claim, or that there was a mix-up during the processing of your application.

To get this decision reversed, however, you will need to proceed through the SSA’s appellate process, which can be challenging without professional legal assistance. Get in touch with our intake team today and find out how a Gwinnett SSI appeals lawyer could help you pursue benefits.

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