Denied Claims & Appeals
Social security disability benefits are supposed to ensure that the disabled have income even if they cannot work. Administered through the Social Security Administration (SSA), social security disability insurance (SSDI) provides monthly income to the long-term disabled who have a qualifying medical condition and who are not able to work as a result. Unfortunately, although SSDI is intended to make sure the disabled can support themselves, the SSA denies the majority of applications it receives.
A denied disability claim can be devastating to a person who was depending upon receiving monthly disability benefits. A denial, however, does not mean that you should give up. You pay in to the social security system in order to secure your SSDI benefits and you are entitled to those benefits when you can no longer work. A Boston social security disability lawyer can help you to get the benefits that you deserve.The Social Security Disability Appeals Process
When a claim for social security disability benefits is denied, there is an administrative appeals process in place that allows the applicant more chances to prove he or she is truly disabled and entitled to benefits.
There are actually four steps in the social security appeals process:
- Request for reconsideration
- A disability benefits hearing
- A review of the hearing decision by the social security appeals board
- Appeal to a federal court
At each step, it is important to act in a timely manner as you have a limited period of time to appeal before your claim denial is permanent. A Boston disability rights lawyer can help to ensure that you preserve your right to appeal and can work to help make your appeals successful.Request for Reconsideration
A request for reconsideration is the first and simplest step in the appeals process. A request for reconsideration simply involves asking the SSA to take another look at your application. Your claim will be reviewed by someone different after you make a request for reconsideration and that person may come to a different conclusion on your right to benefits.
When you make a request for reconsideration, you may wish to bolster your initial application by providing additional information. Understanding what went wrong with your first claim is important so that you can determine if there were any medical records missing or what other weaknesses there may have been in your initial claim. A Boston social security disability lawyer can help you to determine what new information should be presented when you make a request for reconsideration.A Disability Benefits Review Hearing
If your claim for benefits is denied, you have the right to request a hearing. The hearing remains within the SSA administrative process and the decision at the hearing is made by an administrative law judge (ALJ). It can take up to a year or longer for a hearing to be scheduled and the hearing will typically take place at a designated location near to where you live. You should plan to attend the hearing and to present witnesses and a solid argument about why you are entitled to benefits.
The Social Security Administration will have the opportunity to make its case at the hearing as well, and you can count on the fact that they will have experts representing the government. You should make sure that you, too, are represented by an advocate with extensive knowledge of the social security disability system.Review By The Appeals Board
The third step involves asking an administrative appeals board to review the decision made at the disability benefits hearing. The appeals board can determine that there were no errors or mistakes made in the hearing and/or can decline to formally review your case. In some instances, the appeals board may determine that something went wrong at the hearing and can either send your case back for further consideration or determine your entitlement to benefits.
This is the last internal appeal within the SSA administrative system. You must be prepared with solid arguments for this process and they usually will be technical arguments rich in legal complexity. Again, having a social security disability lawyer is the key here if you hope to have the best chance of success.Appeal to Federal Court
This is the last and final level of appeal and it involves asking a federal court judge to review previous decisions in your case. It is very rare for a federal judge to undo what the Social Security Administration has done or to come to a different conclusion. Winning an appeal in federal court is, therefore, very difficult. You should always have a Massachusetts social security disability lawyer who is familiar with the federal appeals process if your case gets to this stage, but hopefully you claim can be resolved in your favor before things escalate to this level.Getting Legal Help
The social security disability appeals process allows a person who was denied benefits the right to argue on his own behalf for the benefits that he deserves. Remember, you pay into the social security system precisely so you can be protected if something goes wrong. You deserve to obtain benefits when you are disabled and you should not sit back and accept a denial without fighting for your rights.
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