Although incredibly frustrating, it’s not a rare occurrence for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to deny Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Since the SSA is a large governmental office with a slew of complicated rules and regulations, oftentimes, it’s hard to get your benefits approved. However, just because your Social Security Disability benefits were denied at first does not mean that this is a permanent situation for you and your family. There are a variety of ways to appeal a benefits denial, which our Charlotte disability lawyers at Ted A. Greve and Associates are trained to help you with so you can get the results you need and continue to live your life in an enjoyable manner. If during the initial determination stage, you find that your claim has been denied, call us today to set up a free consultation to discuss how to best appeal your denial.
What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
The United States has a governmental program called the Social Security Disability that pays benefits to workers who have paid Social Security taxes while employed and who have been completely disabled and will remain disabled for the foreseeable future (at least 12 months). Also known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), this program is administered by the Social Security Administration and is in place to aid those whose disabilities prevent them from working and earning a paycheck. Social Security Disability Insurance is often hard to obtain, as over half of claims that are filed are denied. If your claim is denied, you do have the right to appeal it to see if you can receive your benefits upon a review of your situation.
How can I appeal my SSDI denial?
There are four ways you can file an appeal with the Social Security Administration, ranging from a simple reconsideration appeal to a formal lawsuit in the Federal District Court. If your case gets denied after each of these appeals, the final step is to file a federal lawsuit with the District Court. Take a look at each of the four ways to file an appeal below:
Reconsideration – A total review of the denied claim
With a request for reconsideration, the denied claim is completely reviewed by a person associated by the Disability Determination Services (DDS). This person cannot be previously associated with the claim, and it is during this time that the previous evidence, along with any new information, can be presented. While many of these appeals are still denied (potentially because the person filing the claim truly did not qualify for Social Security Disability), there are times when additional information and facts can sway the decision, and the claimant will receive a favorable decision. Sometimes, too little or too much information associated with a case can influence a negative decision, so a request for reconsideration can be helpful.
Hearing – A court appointed judge’s decision regarding your claim
Individuals whose claims are still denied in the reconsideration phase of the appeals process can make moves to request a hearing, where a judge outside of the Disability Determinaton Services will take all pertinent information regarding the claim into consideration. Often, more information is requested and witnesses such as medical professionals and experts related to the previous vocation of the claimant will be questioned and potentially asked to provide additional information. While your presence is not required for the reconsideration process, it is strongly suggested that you be present if your case reaches a hearing.
While this stage of the appeals process is typically much more successful than a reconsideration appeal, the hearing phase of the process is slow moving and consists of a hefty backlog of claimants waiting for their hearing. Individuals who reside in North Carolina can expect to wait up to a year and a half for their hearing to reach a judge.
Appeals Council – A thorough review by the Social Security Appeals Council
If an individual’s case is denied by a judge during the hearing process, the third form of appeal is a request for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The council is allowed to deny the request for a hearing at this point, which only leaves the option to file a lawsuit with the Federal Court. However, if the request for review is granted, the council will either decide the fate of the case or return it to an Administrative Law Judge for another review, which means it will go back to the hearing phase.
Federal Court – A hearing involving a lawsuit
At this point in the appeals process, a formal lawsuit will need to be filed in order for your case to be heard in federal court, which could be a District Court, Court of Appeals or even the U.S. Supreme Court. Your denial letter from the Appeals Council should give you the information you need about how to request that your case be reviewed by a District Court. Particularly at this point in your process, it is wise to seek the help of a legal professional so that you are adequately prepared for a hearing of this caliber.
Schedule a Consultation with Charlotte Disability Lawyers
While the Social Security Administration is a helpful tool in finding out more information regarding your Social Security Disability Insurance and can provide you with help during your appeals process, it is always a good idea to seek the counsel of a skilled Charlotte disability lawyer in order to have the best chance at gaining a positive result. Our attorneys at Ted A. Greve and Associates have the knowledge and understanding of how to properly file an appeal so that you can receive the compensation that you need in order to take care of yourself and your family. Call us today to set up a free consultation and to talk more about how to fight for your rights and appeal your Social Security Disability denial in Charlotte, NC.