Social Security Disability Appeals
You filed for disability insurance and you’ve been denied, now what? Good news, claimants have the right to appeal a decision, but you must act immediately. The initial appeal is called a ‘reconsideration appeal’ because basically a new examiner will reconsider your case. Once you receive notice of your denial you have 60 days to file your appeal. If you allow those 60 days to lapse you have to start at square one and fill out a new application form. Contact the SSA (Social Security Administration) and let them know you will be filing an appeal. They will supply you with the necessary forms to proceed. To beat that 60 day deadline you will want to quickly complete the paperwork and mail it back.
Perhaps you applied for benefits without the aid of an attorney, but you think you would like someone on your side in the appeals process. You should consider hiring an attorney with a thorough understanding of disability law. An attorney with expertise in this field can handle all the paperwork for you.
It is crucial that you bring to your attorney’s attention any changes in your medical condition since you initially applied for benefits. If your condition has deteriorated or your medication has changed your attorney will want to report these developments to the examiner.
To achieve success, many claims need to be pursued beyond this initial appeal. A denial on the first appeal is common because the case is being examined using the same rules and regulations as the initial application. The 60 day time constraint applies to this stage of the process as well. If you receive a notice that your award has been declined, you will need to file for a second appeal within 60 days. This second appeal is handled in a different way. A hearing is arranged before a federal disability judge.
Persistence may be the key in winning the benefits you deserve. Many people do not follow through with the appeals process because, let’s face it, filling out forms can be a huge headache and attending a hearing can be an intimidating prospect. If you are in fragile health the last thing you need is the stress of dealing with detailed paperwork and formal proceedings. A good attorney will do in-depth research and hunt down pertinent documentation. He or she will arrive at the hearing well-prepared and present a persuasive case.
Perhaps the wisest move once you receive a notice of denial is to seek a consultation with a disability lawyer. Many lawyers practicing disability law will offer a free consultation. Also, choose a lawyer who gets paid only when you are granted an award and takes only a reasonable percentage of your retroactive benefits (back pay) and not a cent of your future benefits.
Remember don’t get discouraged if your application is denied, instead be proactive and speak to an expert. Your odds of prevailing increase greatly if you are represented by an attorney.