Denied Social Security Disability Benefits
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has a very detailed process that must be followed in order to appeal the denial of a Social Security disability claim. The only way to be sure that you don't make a mistake is to hire an Atlanta Social Security disability lawyer who can help. The attorneys at Griffin Law Firm, P.C. have more than 40 years of combined legal experience and are fully capable of helping you appeal a denial.
Why Most Disability Claims Are Denied
Since the eligibility requirements for SSD benefits are so strict, it is important to know the most common mistakes that people make when filing a claim. The Griffin Law Firm has noticed seven common reasons why a Social Security disability claim is denied:
- Claimant is working: Even claimants working part-time are likely to be denied benefits. Disability requires a complete inability to work, with few exceptions.
- No severe impairment: The SSA generally judges impairment as "severe" when it negatively impacts the claimant's ability to work and perform regular daily activities.
- Claimant has not worked enough: Social Security benefits are only paid to individuals who have been working long enough to pay into Social Security through their earned wages.
- Claimant is younger than 50: Claimants younger than 50 years of age are considered to be in the "young category" and will have a harder time proving their inability to work. The burden to prove an inability to perform light work will be greater for younger claimants.
- Unemployment benefits are being paid: The SSA will be much less likely to make SSD payments to an individual who is currently receiving unemployment benefits, since unemployment benefits are made to individuals who have been unable to find a job, but are "ready, willing, and able to work."
- Disability will not last for 12 months or more: SSD benefits are only paid to individuals whose disability will or is expected to last 12 months or longer, or end in death.
- Impairment is not supported by medical evidence: Unless a claimant can prove that they are severely impaired by providing medical records and other such evidence, they will have a hard time being granted Social Security disability.
Steps to Filing an Appeal
If you believe that your SSD application was wrongfully denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal after you receive your notification letter. The process may then progress through as many as four levels of appeal. The first is reconsideration, where your claim is reviewed a second time by someone other than the individual who originally denied you benefits. Additional evidence of your disability may be provided for this reconsideration. If this step still ends in denial, you may then request an administrative hearing.
At this hearing, an administrative law judge will question you and any witnesses regarding your claim. Your attorney may also cross-examine the witnesses to uncover valuable information. This step can be performed in person or via video conference. Your hearing can also take place without you being present, although it is highly recommended that you attend if at all possible. If your administrative hearing does not end with a reversal, you may request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Council will then make their own decision on your case or return it to another administrative law judge to review it, instead.
The final level in the appeals process is to take your case to federal court. This is the only step that requires the representation of an attorney, although it is strongly recommended that you have the counsel and representation of a lawyer throughout each of the previous levels of appeal, as well. By filing a lawsuit in federal district court, your case will be reviewed and a final judgment will be made regarding your benefits.
Hire an Atlanta SSD Lawyer to Help You File an Appeal
If you are seriously injured or ill and cannot work, you deserve to receive Social Security disability benefits. An Atlanta Social Security disability lawyer from Griffin Law Firm, P.C. can help you gather the evidence and documentation needed to prove your eligibility and file a successful claim. We are also skilled in negotiation and litigation and can help you through each of the levels of appeal until you are granted the benefits you need. Contact us right away to speak with a member of our team for free. We offer
complimentary consultations and will help you make an educated decision regarding your legal options.