Below we will explain the 5 steps to the Social Security Disability process, these are only brief explanations, and a more in depth explanation for each can be found elsewhere on our website. It is also important to remember most people will not have to go through all five steps.
When someone decides that they want to apply for social security, the first thing they have to do is submit a completed application and necessary paperwork. The application can be done online, in your local social security office, or directly through our office. It is important to remember that our fee does not increase or decrease based on what part of the process you bring us in, so it is always best to contact us as soon as possible. Our office can handle the original application for you right over the phone and submit all the necessary paperwork for you to your local Social Security office.
If you are denied based on your initial application, many states require you to submit a reconsideration before you can appeal your case to a judge. The reconsideration allows for someone who did not make the first decision to look at your case to see if the first claims examiner missed something or if there is new evidence that could change your case. The reconsideration has to be submitted within 60 days of your original denial, and there is generally a short time frame to submit additional evidence since the second claims examiner who will look at your case has most of the evidence they will need already organized for them. It is important to have an experienced legal team working on your case so that you can make the most of this short time frame.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing
Most cases end of going in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Many people fear this process as they have never been in front of a judge before or if they have been in front of a judge, it was not for a good reason. The Social Security rules are complicated and take years to master, so it is always best to hire experienced attorneys to handle your Social Security Disability case. Some judges will not even hear your case unless you have an attorney representing you since these cases are generally extremely complicated. While it may be intimidating to hear that you are going in front of a judge, it is important to remember that this is usually the most effective way of getting awarded Social Security Disability benefits.
The Appeals Council is a panel of judges who will look at the decisions of judges to determine whether or not the judge made the right decision based on the evidence that was available at the time of the hearing. One thing people tend to not understand is that the Appeals Council is only looking at whether or not the evidence supported a favorable decision at the time of the hearing, any later evidence or diagnosis does not help in an Appeals Council action. What the Appeals Council is usually looking for is evidence that the judge made a mistake or missed something, rather than whether or not you are or are not disabled. This means that the Appeals Council is generally dealing mostly with legal theories based on the Social Security Act, and is a time when you definitely should hire an experienced attorney.
If you are denied at the Appeals Council and wish to appeal further, it is possible to file suit in Federal Court. However, these cases are very rare and while we may be able to advise you on what to do next we do not generally handle these types of cases. Due to the fact that by the time you have reached this stage of the appeals process your case may have changed drastically, a lot of the time it may be a better option to simply reapply. Since many conditions get worse over time, you may find that you have an easier time by reapplying for the benefit than you would by following up with multiple appeals.
Call our office today and see if you qualify:
While we try to provide as much information on our webpage as possible, the best way to find out if you are eligible is to contact one of our Client Service Representatives today. You may reach our office toll free at 1-800-488-4775.