An Overview Of The Social Security Disability Process
As your lawyer, I will work through the challenges involved in filing or appealing a Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claim. The Social Security Disability process can look something like this:
Filing Your Claim
I will review with you all your health problems and medical treatments and submit that information to the Social Security Administration. Since 1990, I have been helping people apply for SSDI and SSI benefits. I know what the SSA looks for in a well-presented application. My staff and I will review the forms and questionnaires you complete before submitting them to the SSA. In many cases, we assist our clients in the completion of the questionnaires.
Requests For Reconsideration
If your claim has been denied after filing your initial application, you must file a request for reconsideration for your case to continue. Reconsideration is a second review of your claim by the agency that made the first decision. Most requests for reconsideration are denied.
Requests For A Hearing Before An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
If the reconsideration decision is negative, you need to file a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge. My law firm can file your appeal and will represent you at the hearing and present more evidence supporting your disability claim. The ALJ hearing is the most important part of the appeals process and is where the majority of cases are truly won or lost. It is very difficult and more time-consuming to appeal from an unfavorable administrative law judge decision.
The Appeals Council (AC)
If you do not win your claim before the administrative law judge, you may request a review of your case by the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council. One no longer can file an appeal and a new application; it is typically only one or the other. It typically takes between 12 and 30 months to get a decision from the Appeals Council, so financial circumstances, the quality of the medical evidence and other technical issues such as insured status need to be discussed by the attorney and client in deciding whether to file an appeal to the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, it may make a new decision or return your claim to the administrative law judge to reconsider the evidence.
Federal District Court Review Or Appeal
Appealing to federal court is the last step in the Social Security Disability process for those who have been unsuccessful in getting their claims approved. Only the strongest cases, where clear error was made by the ALJ, will be appealed to federal court. The federal court reviews the records that were before the ALJ and the ALJ’s reasoning in making the decision. The standard of review in federal court is whether or not reasonable people could disagree about whether the claimant is disabled. If reasonable people could disagree about whether the claimant is disabled, an unfavorable decision is not going to be reversed by the federal court. This is an extremely difficult standard of review and is generally not favorable to claimants, especially if there was not a very strong record presented to the ALJ.
Contact The Disability Law Office of Jeffrey S. Lichtman, LLC, For A Free Consultation
Whether you are making an initial application for benefits or your claim has been denied, I can assist you. You typically pay no fees unless my team secures or reinstates your SSDI or SSI benefits. Contact my firm today to schedule a free consultation. Call 215-268-7274 or toll-free at 1-800-346-7600.