Winning Social Security Disability (SSDI) can sometimes be an uphill battle. Most claims are rejected initially, which leaves applicants frustrated that they must wait for the benefits they need. Fortunately, you have the right to appeal a denied Social Security disability claim.
If your request for SSDI has been denied, it’s important to retain skilled legal counsel. The Oklahoma Social Security Disability team at Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC is ready to serve you.
There are the steps you need to take to contest and appeal a denied SSDI claim.
1. Review the Decision and Contact Social Security
First, take a careful look at the denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). As you read, take note of the reasons given for the denial and the specific evidence or criteria that were not met. If you have questions or concerns, you can contact your local SSA office.
You should also speak right away with an Oklahoma SSDI lawyer to learn more about the appeals process.
2. Request a Reconsideration
Your first step to contest the SSA’s decision is reconsideration. Filing a request for reconsideration requires submitting additional medical and other relevant paperwork that supports your claim. A claimant typically has 60 days from the date of the denial letter to pursue this option.
It must be submitted in writing with the proper forms, which an attorney can assist with. Reconsideration involves someone who did not initially review your claim taking a second look to see if it was decided correctly.
Your goal during reconsideration is to prove you have sufficient evidence in support of your application. That means you can submit new evidence, which may be medical and non-medical in nature. Ultimately, your documentation should demonstrate the severity of your disability and how it impacts your ability to work.
3. Request a Hearing
If your claim is still rejected after reconsideration, you can ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You will have 60 days to submit this request. It is important that you have an Oklahoma Social Security Disability lawyer assist with this step. A hearing is a more formal process that will allow you to present your case and provide witnesses.
At the hearing, your claim is heard “de novo.” This means it is evaluated without consideration of what was decided in the initial or reconsideration stages. The ALJ will usually issue a written decision within a few weeks or months of the hearing.
4. Appeals Council and Federal Court Review
If the ALJ’s decision is unfavorable, you can then escalate your appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. As before, you will have 60 days to make this request. The Council will review your case but may choose to uphold the judge’s decision.
If all else fails, your last resort is to file a lawsuit in federal district court. While it is rare that SSDI cases must progress this far, you have this option if your claim is still denied. Talk to an Oklahoma disability attorney about taking your case to the Appeals Council or federal court.
Walking With You Each Step of the Appeals Process
Appealing a Social Security Disability denial can be lengthy and complex. With strong evidence, proper attention to procedures and deadlines, and legal counsel, you will improve your chances of success. Don’t delay seeking the SSDI benefits you need.
Reach out to Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC to begin your appeal today.