What To Expect During The SSA Appeals Process

Are you feeling frustrated because your application for Social Security benefits was denied? If so, you can appeal this decision. Before you do, the following information can give you a brief overview of the appeals process so you’ll know what to expect each step of the way.

Responding To The Denial Letter From The SSA

Once you’ve received your initial denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you have 60 days to appeal the decision. According to the SSA, it is assumed that you’ll receive your letter within five days of its mailing date (unless you can prove otherwise), so the 60 day time limit begins five days after the date of the postmark. If you wait longer than 60 days to appeal, you must have a very good reason for requesting an extension of the deadline.

 In order to appeal to the denial letter, you need to respond to it in writing, requesting a reconsideration of your claim. A disability lawyer is a great resource to have during this stage of the appeals process because your lawyer will advise you on the types of additional documentation to include with your written appeal.

Appealing A 2nd SSA Denial

After requesting that the SSA reconsiders your claim, if you’re denied benefits for a second time, don’t lose hope yet. Your next step is to file another appeal in the form of a written request for a SSA administrative hearing. If your request for a hearing is approved, your case will be reviewed by the Appeals Council or heard by an administrative law judge from the SSA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.

While waiting for your administrative hearing to be scheduled, this is the time to work on the case with your lawyer. You’ll need to gather as much evidence as possible to prove your claim, which may include:

  • Witnesses to testify on your behalf at the hearing
  • Additional medical documentation
  • Other documentation proving your disability (e.g. police reports and insurance company documentation)

After the hearing, you’ll receive written notification of the judge’s decision. If your claim is finally approved, you will likely receive benefits that date back to the time of your first SSA application.

Exhausting The Appeals Process

If you receive notice that your case has been denied for a third time, you’ll need to discuss the option of appealing it again with your lawyer. This is the final appeal in the process and requires that you file a civil suit in federal district court. You should compare the expenses involved with a federal lawsuit with the amount of benefits you seek before taking this step.

An experienced lawyer, like those at Law Offices Of Russell J. Goldsmith can provide you with a realistic expectation of your chances of winning the case in federal court. However, most legitimate claims never need to reach this stage of the appeals process.

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