The Appeals Process

If your application is denied you can choose to appeal the Social Security Administrations decision. There are three main stages of the appeals process:
•    Reconsideration
•    Hearing before an administrative law judge
•    Review by the appeals council

The first step of the appeals process is to request a reconsideration of your denied application. You have 60 days from the date of receiving your denied notification to appeal for your reconsideration, after these 60 days, you must start at the beginning of the application process once again. The reconsideration stage requires an update of any and all information that you gave initially, including details of doctors visits, new medications or treatments, and any work activity that you performed during this time.

On average it takes three to five months to complete the reconsideration process and recieve your decision of either approval or denial from the SSA. Once a decision has been reached regarding your reconsideration appeal, you will be sent a written notification. This notification will tell you whether or not you have been successful and will also tell you how the SSA came to their final decision.

If again you are denied, at this stage you can choose to take the next step in the appeals process and take your case to an appeal hearing in front of an administrative law judge. Again this is a time sensitive decision; you must file a request for a hearing within 60 days of receiving your notification of denial for your reconsideration or you will be forced to start your application again. This can very well mean waiting another 90 to 120 days for your initial application to be denied, and a further three to five months for your reconsideration to be denied, before again applying for a hearing. This is also the time to seriously consider hiring a Social Security Disability attorney if you have not already done so. Proper representation at your hearing can make all the difference and though it is not a legal requirement, it can sometimes be necessary and in your best interests to do so.

In the hearing stage of the appeals process the decision as to whether or not your claim is approved or denied, is in the hands of the administrative law judge alone. You may bring witnesses to your hearing but whether or not they are heard is up to the administrative judge. In certain circumstances your attorney may ask for a decision without a hearing, in which case the judge will send you and your attorney a written record of their decision. The hearing process can take up to a year to result in a decision but the chances of approval are far greater in this stage than in any other stage of the application process.

If you again receive a negative outcome, you can go on to further appeal your claim. This requires taking your case in front of the Social Security Disability Appeals Council.

If you need help with your Social Security Disability claim, contact the Professional Social Security Disability Lawyers at Bill Hotz and Associates today! Call 865-637-9000 or contact us online!