Waiting for a decision on your application for SSDI benefits can be nerve-wracking. Learning that your claim has been denied after all that time waiting can be especially upsetting. Thankfully, the initial denial of a claim does not mean you are out of options. A dedicated SSDI attorney could help you appeal that denial and pursue a fair outcome in your case.
Do not accept defeat at the first notice of a rejected application. Like other claimants before you, it could be possible for you to have your request accepted through an appeal. An SSDI appeals lawyer could review your submission to ensure all necessary documentation is included and then take your case through each stage of the appellate process while fighting to get your decision overturned.
Why SSDI Claims are Denied
There are numerous reasons why the Social Security Administration (SSA) might deny a claim for SSDI benefits. Some of these reasons are easily resolved, while others are based on fundamental issues with the claim. Some claims are also denied due to errors on the part of the SSA.
Many denials are because the claimant did not attach the proper documents. Other denials occur when the basic requirements of SSDI coverage are not met. This includes disabilities that are not recognized by the SSA, as well as not having the necessary work history to qualify for benefits. In some cases, the SSA will deny a claim after alleging the applicant has failed to cooperate with them during the process.
Determining the reason for a denied claim is a vital part of the appeals process. An SSDI appeals attorney could pinpoint the reason for denial and work to address it during the appellate process.
The Appeals Process
Appealing an SSDI decision can be a multi-stage process. A claim could go through four different stages of appeals before the process concludes. An SSDI appeals attorney could help every step of the way.
The first level of appeals is known as reconsideration. During this stage, the SSA will take a second look at an applicant’s original application. Reconsideration frequently results in the same outcome as the original decision, unless the initial error was made by the SSA.
If reconsideration is not successful, the next option is to request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At this hearing, an applicant has the ability to offer any new evidence that could further prove their eligibility for benefits and address the reason for the denial.
The highest level of appeal within the SSA is the Appeals Council. Unlike with reconsideration and a hearing with an ALJ, applicants do not have a right to be heard by the Appeals Council. The Council can choose to hear a case or reject the request—they can even take up a case without being asked if they choose to do so.
Regardless of whether the Appeals Council takes up a claim, the final stop in the appellate process is in federal court. To begin this stage, an applicant must file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court where they live. At this level, a judge can hear any new evidence, as well as any additional support for the underlying claim. The decision in federal court is the final stop for any SSDI appeal.
Contact a Persistent SSDI Appeals Attorney Immediately
If your initial claim for SSDI benefits was denied, you might have another chance to get the benefits you need. The appeal process can feel overwhelming but it often results in a favorable outcome.
Allow an SSDI appeals lawyer to review your case and advise you on the best way to approach the appellate process. We have a team of accomplished lawyers across the entire U.S., so wherever you are, we are ready to help. Call as soon as possible for more information.