Social Security Disability Appeal: What is the Process?

by Mar 6, 2020

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The process for applying for Social Security Disability can be a long one. Understanding how to navigate the system can be confusing and intimidating. Once you’ve submitted your application, there is no guarantee that your claim will be approved. What happens if you have applied for social security and are denied? That doesn’t mean that it is the end of the road for your pursuit of supplemental security income. You can file a Social Security appeal within 60 days to try to persuade the Social Security Administration to review your claim.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you’ve applied for social security, it means that you are unable to work or make enough money to support yourself. You may be physically unable to work. Additionally, you may have developed conditions that do not allow you to function properly in day-to-day life or in the workforce.

General Appeal Information

When you request an appeal, the SSA provides you with an appeal checklist of all of the information you’ll need to have on hand when filing your appeal. You can send your request for consideration online. If you need help with that, or you are unsure how to do that, you may work with your social security disability attorney to request an appeal.

When you send your appeal online it may take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the amount of information you provide. The SSA recommends you save every 30 minutes, so you are not at risk of timing out during the online appeal process. Once you have submitted the application, the SSA will reach out to you if they need any additional information or documentation regarding your appeal.

How long does an appeal take?

Your request for reconsideration can take roughly 2 to 3 months. At this point in the appeals process, most claims are denied. Only a small percentage of these appeals are approved. If you are still denied disability benefits at this point, you can continue onward.

Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge

This process can be an extremely time-consuming portion of the appeals process. It can take 14-22 months, due to the limited amount of law judges available. During the disability hearing, the law judge will listen to your claim and will ask you questions about your situation. Your lawyer should prepare you for these questions, so you can answer them intelligently and correctly.

At this point, you may also present witnesses to reinforce your claim, such as a doctor or an expert. Anyone you can bring along to help prove that you are unable to work or function is important. It will add validity to your statements. An administrative law judge will be unlikely to make a decision on your case that day. You will receive a letter in the mail with their decision.

You may be approved or denied. If denied, you can move forward to the next step in the process.

Request an Appeals Council Review

Next, you can request an appeal with the Appeals Council. At this point, it is not the appeals council’s purpose to evaluate whether or not you are disabled. It is their job to review the decision of the judge who reviewed your case. They will determine if they made the right decision or not. This process can take 12-15 months. If you are still denied disability benefits, you can move forward to the last step.

File a Lawsuit in Federal Court

If you’ve applied for supplemental security income (SSI) and have been denied over and over again, you may eventually get to the last step in the process, which is when you send your case to a Federal Court. This is a very difficult step in the process. It is important to have an experienced SSI lawyer to help you through this process. This step, much like the Appeals Council step, is to determine whether the proper procedures were followed in making the decision regarding your appeal.

Unfortunately, you may still be denied. There is no guarantee of success during this process.

Do you need help with your disability claim? We may be able to help you get approved. Our experienced attorneys know how the system works and will work hard on your behalf. Send your claim information with our online form, or call us directly at (865) 566-0800 to speak to one of our helpful team members.