If your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim has been rejected, you have a right to appeal. You can do appeal within the 60 to 65 days. In case, if the last day has passed away then too, you can try. But for this, you need a strong reason to give to SSA. If you have a strong reason for the delay, then the judge will accept your appeal for hearing. Otherwise, you have to start over by submitting a new application.
Reason for giving limited time:
There are numerous reasons to have a limited time policy by the SSA for appeals. One of the most important reasons for this policy is the workload. Daily, SSA is accepting a considerable number of new applications. The SSA can’t keep track of the older appeals and deal with them. Therefore, to run the workflow of SSA and Disability Determination Services (DDS) smoothly, a limited time frame is a good strategy. Moreover, it saves applicants from the inconvenience.
Without setting a time frame will put pressure on the department, and the quality services of the SSA will marginalize. It will also result in the various administrative issues and will affect the SSA working poorly.
Hiring a qualified attorney:
A highly skilled Social security lawyer or attorney can help you in many ways. It is one of the most appropriate ways to appeal to SSI. Hiring a qualified attorney makes the entire process much more manageable. They take care of everything. He makes sure to file an appeal at the right time and within the limited time frame. Besides that, they will help and guide you in the whole process. With their skills and professional experience, they will try their best to take steps that will help you to get Social Security benefits.
Levels of appeal the Social Security decisions:
When a person asks for an appeal, the SSA looks at the entire decision and re-analyzes and re-evaluates it. The Social Security Administration evaluates each aspect of the case. There are 4 levels of appeal discussed here:
- Requesting for the Reconsideration
- Hearing by the Administrative law judge
- Appeal Council
- Review of the federal court
If your claim has been rejected at the initial stage, you can request a reconsideration of the SSA. For this, you need to write an application. Or you can complete a form SSA-789. Moreover, you can also use the online platform to file the reconsideration application. For an online application, visit the official website of the SSA and submit your request for reconsideration.
In a reconsideration stage, your whole disability claim is reviewed again. The new medical consultant and examiners review the case from the start. In other words, the team that denied your SSI claim for the first time will not be a part of the reconsideration team.
For submitting a reconsideration appeal, you can also contact your local Social Security office. If, in the reconsideration request, your claim is denied again, you can move to the next step. The next step is the hearing by the Administrative law judge.
Hearing by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ):
In this stage, within the 65 days, including the 5 mailing days of receiving the denial, you can file an appeal. For this appeal, you have to submit a complete HA-501 form. Or you can also apply for SSI online through SSA’s official website.
Before filing the appeal, it is essential and recommended for you to sit with your legal advisor. Discuss all the new evidence and the advancement in your disease and its complications. Submit the new evidence before the hearing.
Administrative Law judges are the attorneys who are affiliated with the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) of SSA. The main task of the ALJ is to re-evaluate the case and re-analyzed it completely. Medical consultants and vocational experts also assist the attorney. The doctor explains your medical condition in detail and gives his point of view. While on the other hand, the vocational experts explain and determine whether you can do a job or not. Besides, the administrative judge, medical consultant, and vocational expert can also do questioning from you during the hearing. On the bases of all the agreements, the ALJ makes the decision.
The SSA intimates you about the location, time, and date at least 75 days before the hearing. It is crucial for you or for your legal advisor to be present at the hearing on the given date and time. If you can’t attend the hearing, you can attend it through a video call or a telephone call.
If you can’t come to the hearing due to some reasons, you can request ALJ for signing you a new date for the hearing, but you need to submit a written application for this at least 5 days before the scheduled hearing date. You need to submit the application before the hearing as soon as possible, or you can submit it within 30 days after receiving the hearing letter. But remember, if you miss the hearing, you will lose your appeal. And you will need to apply the new application and proceed with the process again.
If you aren’t satisfied with their decision, you can go to the appeals council. You can request for this appeal by filing an HA-520 form that is a form to submit your request to review of hearing order. You can also apply for this online. You should ask the Appeals Council to review the ALJ decision within 60 days after receiving your ALJ decision.
In most of the cases, the Appeal Council also tried to review the order within the 60 days. You can also submit the new evidence, and the council will take them into consideration while making the decision.
If the Appeals Council doesn’t accept your request to review the order of the ALJ, don’t be disappointed. You can file in the U.S. District Court for a civil action. For this, you need to take the help of a legal advisor or a lawyer. He will help you with this process. Even for filing in the federal court, you only have 60 days. Within that duration, you have to file the case. In most cases, the federal court sends the case back to the ALJ to review the case and to organize another hearing.