If you’ve applied what you believe to be a proper and correct application, but were denied benefits. It may be time to consult a Social Security attorney to understand the options that are open to you. It’s also wise to understand the appeals process as a whole before moving forward.
First, you have 60 days from the date of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) letter stating their decision. The initial appeal request has to be in writing and you can file online. You can file this appeal whether or not you live in the United States.
How Many Appeal Levels Are There?
There are four levels of appeal:
- Reconsideration: A complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first decision. The SSA will look at the original application plus any new evidence you or your attorney submits. In certain cases, you can meet with an SSA representative to explain your situation.
- Hearing: If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can ask for a hearing held by an administrative law judge. The hearing is usually within 75 miles of your home. This would be the right time to consult an attorney as many layers of evidence and procedural work can be involved to ensure that you’ve completed all necessary steps ahead of your hearing. You’ll likely want to attend this hearing (whether in-person or through video call).
- Appeals Council Review: Next is the Appeals Council, which can decline to review if it believes that the correct decision was made at an earlier stage. From here, the Council can make a decision on their own or refer it back to another administrative judge.
- Federal Court: Lastly, you can file a lawsuit in Federal Court, which requires a number of individual steps and is highly dependent on your personal situation.
What About My Benefits During This Process?
In some cases, you can receive benefits while appealing, but it must be requested within 10 days of the formal SSA decision letter.
If you’re considering starting the appeals process for your denied claim, it’s vital to consult an attorney who understands each step and can advise you on the best possible plan of action. The team at Schott Law has been doing that for Eastern Washington and Idaho clients for almost a decade. Call us today at (509) 328-5789 to learn more and schedule your free consultation.