Challenging SSDI Application Denial Appeals & How a Veterans’ Benefits Attorney Can Help
If your application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) has been rejected, there are a several instructions that you must follow that are included in your denial letter. As typically outlined in the letter you receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the first thing that a person must do is to file what is known as a “Request for Reconsideration.” Should this request also be denied, there are a number of additional steps you can take to challenge the SSA’s decision, which are the following:
- Request for Reconsideration of Initial Claim. As previously noted, this step must be pursued immediately after receiving one’s initial application denial notice. The purpose of a request for reconsideration is to ask the SSA to completely re-review your case, which is performed by those not originally involved in reviewing your initial SSDI application (an SSA-approved medical consultant in addition to an SSA claims examiner now must examine your case – they are part of what is known as the Disability Determination Services, or DDS). Keep in mind that only about five percent of applications are approved by the DDS in re-examining denied applications. Should your request for reconsideration application be approved, the SSA will subsequently review your case in what is referred to as a continuing disability review, or CDR. This means that current cases will be periodically examined to determine whether the person continues to require benefits or, is able to return back to work. Failure to cooperate with the SSA during the CDR, or if your condition has substantially approved, may result in a denial of ongoing benefits.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If your reconsideration request is rejected, you must submit a request for a hearing to an ALJ within 60 days after you receive your denial notice. An ALJ is a lawyer who works for the SSA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. The good news is that about 67% of appeals are approved after being reviewed by an ALJ.
- SSA Appeals Council. Should your case be denied by an ALJ during your administrative hearing, the SSA’s Appeals Council may review your case however, said decision is subject to their discretion. The Appeals Council typically examines whether a case was denied in error by the ALJ. Unfortunately, only about 5% of cases are approved by the Appeals Council should they choose to examine your case.
- Federal Court Review. If your case is denied by the Appeals Council, your final option is to file a claim with the federal district court in your jurisdiction. District court judges review benefit denial cases for legal errors, but may also rule on factual questions as well. Unfortunately, only 1% of cases prevail at this level.
Can a Veterans Benefits Attorney Help Me?
The answer is unequivocally, yes. In the event that your original application is denied, an experienced veterans’ benefits attorney can also help you get an “on the record”, or OTR, decision in your case, which is the next quickest way to get benefits. They can also:
- Draft a brief, pursuant to the SSA’s specific set of requirements, that presents all arguments in support of why you should receive SSDI benefits;
- Gather new evidence by working with your physicians to obtain additional information necessary to answer all of the SSA’s questions regarding your medical condition;
- Put together a proposed decision and submit it to the presiding ALJ, which ends up saving them the hassle of drafting a decision, which can sometimes take quite a bit of time to complete; and
- Consult with the Attorney Adjudicator assigned to your case in order to discuss the merits of your benefits application and also, to negotiate when you can start receiving SSDI.
In the event that the SSA denies your OTR decision, your case with then be set for hearing. If you happen to be financially strapped due to your disability, an SSDI attorney can draft a letter to the SSA indicating that you are in dire need of benefits. This may result in having your hearing date expedited. In any case however, an SSDI attorney can assist you at hearing level in the following ways:
- Prepare you to anticipate the questions that the SSA may ask of you as well as to properly inform the agency as to the specifics of your medical condition and why you can’t work;
- Assist you in choosing and preparing witnesses to help support your claim; and
- Make sure that you know what to expect every step of the way.
Contact Lundy Law – We Will Fight Hard or the Benefits You Deserve!
Whatever the situation presents, having an experienced SSDI attorney on your side can often mean the difference between the approval and denial of benefits. At Lundy Law, our highly qualified team of social security disability benefits attorneys can help simplify the challenging and complex process of obtaining SSDI benefits and represent you in appealing a denial of your claim. We can also assist you in accurately completing the paperwork so that you do not suffer even longer delays in an already lengthy process. If you are having challenges obtaining social security disability benefits, contact Lundy Law today for an initial free consultation at 1-800-LundyLaw. We represent SSDI applicants and those who have been denied benefits located throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Call us now to learn more about how we can help you!