After an initial attempt to qualify for Social Security or disability has been denied, disability appeal lawyers can help. With widespread concerns about the long-term solvency of the program, the U.S. government has become much more cautious about allowing people onto the program. The majority of those who apply for SSD are denied on the first attempt. The judges who preside over these cases force those who apply to get indisputable evidence that they cannot work.
That’s where having a disability appeal lawyer can help. The Bakersfield and Fresno disability attorneys at Oren & Oren can help you or your loved one appeal the decision. We will work with doctors and vocational experts who will help make recommendations on your work prospects. Contact us today.
In this article, we’ll talk a bit about what you can expect from the disability appeal process.
Starting the Appeal Process
If your disability benefit claim has been denied or your benefits were discontinued, the first part of the process will be to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and tell them you’d like to appeal the decision. The SSA will, in turn, send you forms that you need to fill out. They will also provide you with an address to mail the forms.
The form you need to fill out is the Request for Reconsideration form. If you require help filling these forms out, you caseworkers or family members can guide you through the process. If you have an attorney, they will also fill the forms out for you.
Getting Help During the Appeal Process
While there are those who file their appeal themselves, many elect to have a social worker, caseworker, friend, relative, or attorney manage appointments, forms, and mailing the formers to the proper address. This individual is known as your “authorized representative”.
Many file the appeal on their own and then gain representation as the process moves forward. This is especially true once an administrative law judge enters the picture and those seeking disability benefits are going to have to answer questions under oath.
How Long Will My Disability Appeal Take?
There are multiple levels to the disability appeals process. The first level is generally the fastest. A different medical examiner than the one who initially reviewed your case will review your case. Depending on the Disability Determination Service’s (DDS) backlog of cases, this can take a couple of weeks or a few months.
The next step in the process is an appearance before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This will take a long time. You may not hear a decision for another year. If your claim has to go before a federal judge, it could be years before you get a final decision.
On the bright side, if you are eventually awarded SSD, you will be paid retroactively for the time at which you became disabled.
Can I Receive Benefits While I Appeal?
If your benefits have been discontinued, you may be able to receive benefits while your appeal is going through. A determination will be made at the time you appear before the administrative law judge. However, if the judge decides that you are no longer disabled enough to continue to receive benefits, some of that money might have to be paid back.
Are There Alternatives to Appealing a Disability Denial?
In a situation where the SSA has either denied your claim or terminated your benefits, you have other options other than appealing. These include:
- Reopening the claim. Essentially, you ask the SSA to take another look at your claim. In the event that more than a year has gone by, you may be required to take the second option.
- Filing a new claim. Another option, instead of appealing a claim, is to simply file a new claim. This is an option when you condition has worsened or the treatment for your condition makes it very difficult for you to work.
Talk to a Bakersfield & Fresno Disability Attorney Today
Oren & Oren helps Bakersfield and Fresno residents appeal denials of benefits. If your benefits claim has been denied, call us today. We can help.