The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is one of the most extensive federal government programs providing financial assistance to disabled individuals. If you are disabled and need support, you may seek these SSI payments through the Social Security Administration (SSA). To qualify and receive benefits, you must prove your disability and meet specific medical criteria.

Unfortunately, approximately 70 to 75 percent of initial SSI applications are disputed. However, by appealing the SSA’s decision with the help of an experienced attorney, you may have an increased chance of being approved. A knowledgeable Sandy Springs SSI appeals lawyer can guide you through the complex appeal process and work toward securing the disability benefits you deserve.

Why the SSA Denies Claims

There are several reasons why a disabled applicant’s initial request for SSI benefits might be denied. Common justifications include:

  • The applicant earns too much income or has too many assets;
  • The applicant’s medical condition is not severe enough;
  • The applicant fails to follow the prescribed medical treatment;
  • The applicant refuses to cooperate with the SSA by failing to submit medical records, missing medical appointments, or failing to provide accurate contact information;
  • The disability is primarily due to drug or alcohol abuse;
  • There is insufficient evidence to prove an inability to work; and
  • The applicant is incarcerated, or the disabling condition is the result of committing a felony.

An attorney with experience in SSI appeals can explain the basic eligibility requirements for receiving benefits and help determine why the initial request was disputed.

Appealing the Denial of an SSI Claim

An applicant who was not granted SSI benefits may request an appeal within 60 days of receiving the disputed claim notice. There are multiple levels of appeals for those seeking disability aid in Sandy Springs.

Reconsideration

The first step of the appeals process is to request a review of the SSA’s denial of the claim. The applicant must specify why they are seeking a reconsideration. The reasons for a reconsideration may include the applicant’s concern that their medical records were reviewed incorrectly or that the SSA improperly calculated their income.

During the reconsideration process, the applicant’s medical documents and other evidence will be reviewed by different SSA staff members than those who made the initial determination. These employees will consider all of the evidence from the initial claim filing and any new evidence that the applicant presents. A dedicated legal advisor can help determine whether the necessary information was submitted with the initial SSI claim and if further evidence should be considered in the appeal.

Administrative Hearing and Appeals Council Review in Sandy Springs

If the reconsideration does not result in approval of SSI benefits, a local attorney can help the applicant request that an administrative law judge (ALJ) hear their case. If this review is also not favorable, the SSA Appeals Council can review the ALJ’s decision and decide whether it was supported by the evidence and if all SSA guidelines were followed.

Federal District Court Lawsuit

If the applicant is still denied SSI benefits after the reconsideration, administrative hearing, and any Appeals Council review, they may file a federal District Court lawsuit. The complaint must be served to the SSA attorneys, known as the Office of General Counsel. Once the SSA has filed a response, the applicant may file a written document known as a “brief” that sets forth all of the arguments for why the SSI claim decision should be reversed.

The brief is an essential part of the appeals process because it is the applicant’s final opportunity to prove that they do qualify for SSI benefits under SSA guidelines. Accordingly, it is essential that a Sandy Springs SSI applicant work with an attorney experienced in drafting these complex appeals documents.

Consult a Sandy Springs SSI Appeals Lawyer

If you are a disabled person in Georgia trying to secure SSI benefits, you may unfortunately face multiple disputations of your claim by the SSA. No matter what stage of the process you are in, guidance from a skilled attorney could help you navigate the challenging legal system to get the benefits you need. Call our firm today to speak with a Sandy Springs SSI appeals lawyer about your case.

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