For many, being unable to work due to a physical disability or an injury proves both mentally and emotionally difficult. You applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your claim. You feel as though the determination was incorrect, and you worry about how you will continue to buy food or own your home without income.
If the SSA denies your request for SSD benefits, you have the ability to appeal the decision. Three steps exist to determine whether SSD benefits will apply to you in California, and the SSA has the authority to overturn the initial application denial. When appealing an SSA decision, it may prove extremely beneficial to hire an experienced government benefits attorney. He or she will provide adequate advice and help you draft an appeal that has the best chance of allowing you to receive government aid. If your claim for benefits proves valid after review, the United States will ensure that you receive the correct aid if you cannot work.
Reconsideration of your appeal decision
If you want to appeal a SSD decision made by California courts, you must follow three steps. Know that if denial occurs at any of these steps, you may still move on to the next stage and appeal further.
Step 1: Hearing by an administrative law judge
Within 60 days of your initial denial, you will apply for a hearing. A judge, who had no initial say in your SSD benefits application, will review your appeal. He or she will reconsider various elements of your medical situation and will determine whether your claim proves valid. According to California’s Disability Benefits Center, the hearing process can take nearly 600 days depending on where you live in California, and the decision can add up to 90 days.
Step 2: Review by the Appeals Council
If the administrative law judge responsible for reviewing your appeal denies your claim, you may wish to request review by the Appeals Council of the SSA. The council will deny your request if it looks at the administrative law judge’s decision and determines this decision proved valid. The Appeals Council will then either decide you require SSD benefits or send your claim back to your original administrative law judge with its findings.
Step 3: Federal Court review
Many people hoping to acquire benefits do not bring their claim to U.S. Federal Court, but your attorney may have the authority to bring the appeal if you deserve benefits. A Federal Court will determine if your individual disability case requires benefits by the government. This step can prove expensive and time-consuming, so you want to ensure you need SSD benefits over another government-funded program before arriving at this stage.
Your experienced attorney will document all hearing information, provide all process details, fill out paperwork and file necessary documents timely and answer all of your SSD appeal questions. If you deserve benefits because you cannot work due to your injury or disability, your attorney will work diligently to help you receive the aid you need.