Fewer than a quarter of the people seeking Social Security disability benefits receive approval on their initial application. The rest of them get a letter explaining the reason their application was denied and informing them of their right to appeal. If a disability prevents you from working, giving up without a fight should not be an option.
Instead of giving up, speak to a Social Security disability lawyer at NY Disability to learn how you may benefit from an appeal. Sometimes, all it takes is a hearing held before an administrative law judge, but a federal court appeal is available for those who exhaust their challenges through the administrative review process. The following information is offered to give you a better understanding of the appeal process and how to win Social Security disability benefits through a federal court appeal.
The process to appeal an adverse determination
You need to go through the administrative stages of the appeal process before asking a federal judge to review your case. The following are the administrative stages, so-called because they occur within the Social Security Administration, of the process to appeal an adverse decision on your claim for disability benefits:
- Appeals Council Review
An adverse determination that you have the right to appeal includes denial of eligibility, the amount of the disability benefits, and a decision made that you were overpaid and must pay it back.
Reconsideration, which is the first stage of the appeal process, is initiated by having your SSDI or SSI lawyer send a written request to the SSA within 60 days of the determination being appealed. The claim will be reviewed by someone at SSA who did not participate in the initial determination that was made on it.
An adverse determination after reconsideration may be appealed by requesting a hearing. The case will be assigned to an administrative law judge for a hearing.
Your SSDI lawyer may offer additional evidence, including medical records or witnesses, to support your request that the determination made should be overturned. The judge will decide in writing and send it to your lawyer after the hearing.
If the decision after a hearing is not in your favor, you have the right to ask for a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will deny a review request when it finds that the decision made at the hearing level was consistent with federal law and Social Security regulations.
An adverse decision at the Appeals Council level gives you the right to take your case outside of the administrative review process by filing a lawsuit in federal court. This is the first stage in the appeal process that takes place outside of the Social Security Administration.
How to win a federal court appeal
You should have taken the first step toward improving your chance to win Social Security disability long before getting to the federal court appeal stage in the process by hiring a skilled and knowledgeable SSD lawyer at NY Disability. You need a lawyer with federal court experience who also handles Social Security disability matters.
Right alongside getting a lawyer, the other thing that needs to be at the top of the list of things to do to win a Social Security disability benefits appeal in federal court is to act quickly. You only have 60 days from when you receive notice from the Appeals Council to appeal its decision by filing a civil lawsuit in federal court. Your lawyer needs time to prepare the paperwork for a lawsuit, so unless you have one already, you need to immediately contact NY Disability as soon as you receive the Appeals Council notice.
When a Social Security disability case finally gets to federal court, the process is unlike courtroom dramas you may have seen on TV or in the movies. Instead of a trial with witnesses as you might see in courtroom scenes in the movies or on TV, most of what goes on in a federal court appeal is accomplished on paper.
Your lawyer files a complaint with the court and an answer to it is filed by the lawyers for Social Security. Written briefs containing the arguments for each side in the dispute are submitted by the lawyers to the judge who ultimately decides the case.
Learn more about federal court appeals from lawyers who handle them
An adverse determination on your claim for Social Security disability benefits should not stop you from challenging it through every level of the appeal process including, if necessary, a federal court appeal. Give yourself the best chance of success by speaking with a Social Security disability lawyer at NY Disability. The trusted advice and guidance provided by our SSD lawyer offers insight into your claim and options for pursuing it.