If your application for Social Security disability benefits has been rejected, don’t give up. Although the SSDI appeals process can be very time-consuming and frustrating, you can get the help of an Indiana SSDI lawyer to handle your case.
An Indiana SSDI lawyer can provide assistance through each step toward securing Social Security disability benefits, including the following:
- The initial determination
- Reconsideration determination
- A hearing that takes place before an administrative law judge
- The appeals council review, which precedes the filing of your case in federal court
You shouldn’t hesitate to contact a lawyer if you’ve received notice that your claim for benefits has been rejected, because you generally will have roughly 60 days to appeal the decision.
SSDI Appeals Process: After You’ve Been Rejected
The Social Security Administration will refer claims to a state agency to determine disability. At this agency, a physician and a disability examiner will evaluate your claim, and an initial determination of your eligibility will be made.
If you’re not satisfied with the initial determination, you can appeal. This appeal is considered a request for reconsideration determination. During the reconsideration, a different physician and disability examiner will evaluate your claim; however, your case will still likely be rejected.
The next step is to seek a hearing before an administrative law judge. It’s very important that you consult with an Indiana SSDI lawyer at this stage of your SSDI appeals process. To increase your chances of a favorable outcome, you’ll want to have documentation of your disability and any necessary evidence to prove your case. A lawyer knows what information will be the key to you obtaining benefits and moving forward with your life.
Before the hearing is held, an attorney advisor who writes decisions for administrative law judges will review your file and consult with your lawyer in an informal conference, usually by phone. If the advisor issues a decision in your favor, then your hearing request typically will be dismissed.
If a favorable decision isn’t made and a hearing is held, you and medical experts will be called to testify under oath. After the hearing, the administrative law judge will make a decision. If this decision is unfavorable, you may ask that an Appeals Council review the decision. The Appeals Council may:
- Refuse to review the decision
- Affirm the decision
- Modify the decision
- Reverse the decision
- Remand the decision
If you’re not satisfied with the Appeals Council decision, an Indiana SSDI lawyer can take your case to federal court. To protect your case through the SSDI appeals process, you should keep all medical records of your disability, maintain your credibility and follow all of your doctor’s orders.