SSDI Appeals Process
After months of waiting for a determination regarding your initial Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim, receiving a denial can be a blow. It is important to keep in mind, however, that an applicant’s chances of approval increase substantially on appeal. At Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, our Social Security attorneys advocate for people throughout North and South Carolina who are appealing an initial denial of a claim. We have the legal skill and knowledge needed to present your situation in a favorable manner.Request a Reconsideration of an Initial Denial
There are several levels of appeal that allow for further review and potentially the reversal of an erroneously denied benefits claim. After submitting your initial application pursuant to the SSDI claims process, you will receive a letter of determination from the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the decision is unfavorable, the letter will outline the steps for the first level of appeal, which is a reconsideration. The deadline to file an appeal is generally 60 days from the date of the decision, plus five days for mailing.
A reconsideration is a complete review of your case by a claims examiner who was not involved in the initial decision. The examiner will re-evaluate all of the information contained in your initial file, along with any additional supporting documentation and updated medical records that you may submit with your appeal. If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you may appeal it by promptly requesting a hearing.Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
A hearing before an administrative law judge provides the best chance of receiving an SSDI benefits decision in your favor. As with the request for reconsideration, the deadline to file an appeal is generally 60 days from the date of the decision, plus five days. At this stage of the appeal process, professional legal guidance may be particularly helpful in representing you at the hearing.
You will have the opportunity to review your file and submit any additional evidence to the administrative law judge in advance of a hearing. In some cases, you may request that the administrative law judge make a decision before the hearing, based solely on your file and any additional evidence that you submit. If the administrative law judge issues a decision in your favor, there will be no need for a hearing. If not, you will have the chance to present your case at a hearing. At the hearing, you may testify and call others to testify in support of your SSDI claim. In addition, the SSA may call its own witnesses, which you or your attorney may cross-examine. The administrative law judge will issue a written decision some time after the hearing, which may be appealed if you disagree.Review by Appeals Council
If the hearing decision is not in your favor, you may then request a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council, which will look at your claim, the hearing decision, and any additional evidence submitted with your appeal. The Appeals Council may deny a request to review the hearing decision if it seems reasonable and procedurally correct. If it does accept your request for review, it will consider all of the evidence and legal issues and make a determination. If the Appeals Council declines to review your hearing decision, or issues a determination that is not in your favor, you may then appeal its decision by filing a lawsuit in federal district court.Consult an Attorney in North or South Carolina for an SSDI Appeal
An SSDI lawyer can guide claimants in North and South Carolina through the appeals process, representing them diligently throughout the proceedings. The attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP offer skilled legal representation to people who are confronting the challenges of a serious medical condition. We have offices in Asheville, Waynesville, Spruce Pine, Franklin and Rutherfordton, North Carolina and Greenville, Spartanburg, and Gaffney, South Carolina. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call 800.533.6845.