Washington DC and Baltimore SSI Appeal Lawyer for Social Security Claim Denials
If you have filed a disability claim and it has been denied, don’t panic. The sad truth is that the majority of claims filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA) are denied. The reasons for this are varied, but the important thing to remember is that you can appeal their decision. Unfortunately, the appeal process can be complicated, but a Baltimore SSI appeal lawyer can help you get the benefits you deserve.
A Quick Clarification
SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are often confused, likely because both they both apply to Social Security claims and the benefits are very similar. Supplement Security Income is awarded to individuals 65 or older or are disabled. For those who do not meet the income qualification but are disabled, SSI benefits are typically paid to those who have never been able to work due to a life-long disability or who have an insufficient work history to qualify for SSDI. The benefits paid by SSI are typically less than those paid by SSDI. Regardless of which you benefits option you are pursuing, our law firm can assist with your applications for both — and can manage the appeal for a denied claim.
Seeking Benefits the First Time While Also Preparing for an Appeal
Even with experienced legal representation, you could still end up having your initial SSDI claim denied. This is just something that happens, and it is something you should prepare for no matter how careful you are when putting together your application.
Baltimore SSDI attorney Emmett B. Irwin will do everything he can to make sure your application is successful the first time. But, just in case the SSA raises questions about your application, he will also prepare for the possibility of filing an appeal. This will involve having your application reviewed by a different SSA employee and possibly taking your claim before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). If you need to go to a hearing before an ALJ, you will be asked questions such as:
- What are your symptoms?
- Are you currently working?
- How do your symptoms affect your ability to work?
- If you are not working, when did you stop?
- Are you currently seeing a doctor?
- What treatment are you receiving?
- Are you taking any medications (and if so, which ones)?
If necessary, Mr. Irwin can thoroughly prepare you for your ALJ hearing, and he can represent you throughout the entire process. No matter what it takes, if you are entitled to SSDI benefits, Mr. Irwin will keep fighting to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.
Consult with a Baltimore Social Security Appeals Lawyer Regarding Important Deadlines
While you have the right to appeal the SSA’s decision, it’s important to note that you must take immediate action. You have only 60 days from the date you receive your notice of the SSA’s denial to file your appeal. This may seem like a lot of time, but it can pass more quickly than you think. You may need to collect additional documentation or have corrections made to your medical records. These things can take a considerable amount of time, so it’s important to begin working on your appeal as soon as possible.
If your claim has been denied, working with a Baltimore Social Security appeals lawyer can significantly improve your chances of a successful appeal. They can handle almost every aspect of the appeal process so that you can focus on your day-to-day life.
Steps in the SSI and SSDI Appeals Process
If your SSDI claim is denied, the appeal process includes multiple steps to escalate the review of your claim.
- Step 1: Request for Reconsideration
- Step 2: Request for Hearing
- Step 3: Request for Review by the Appeals Council
- Step 4: Filing a Lawsuit in Federal Court
If your claim is approved at any level, you do not need to proceed to the next. However, these steps must be followed in order. In other words, you cannot skip straight to requesting a hearing or filing a lawsuit.
Your Washington DC SSI Appeal Lawyer Can Request for Reconsideration
Requesting reconsideration of your claim is the first step in the appeal process. When you receive your Notice of Initial Determination, read it carefully – the SSA will provide you with the reason for your denial, either medical (insufficient evidence) or non-medical (your income is too high). Based on the reason for your denial, you can then file your request online using either the medical or non-medical portals.
The request for reconsideration basically entails a review by a different examiner than the one who rendered the initial determination. They will essentially review the same paperwork you already submitted, but you can also submit any new documentation you have since obtained. A Baltimore Social Security appeals lawyer can be especially helpful in this situation, as they will know what additional information you can provide to get your claim approved.
Requesting a Hearing
Most requests for reconsideration are denied, and so you need to proceed to the next step in the appeal process and request a hearing before an administrative law judge. You will have the opportunity to explain to the judge why your claim should be approved. You will be expected to submit any evidence you have already provided, but your Baltimore SSI appeal lawyer can also submit new evidence that you have obtained since your initial application or explain any changes in your condition.
As part of the hearing, the judge will also hear testimony from medical experts and a vocational expert regarding what types of work you may be able to perform. You can bring your own witnesses.
Many non-lawyers find the hearing to be intimidating and with good reason. A Washington DC Social Security appeals lawyer can speak on your behalf at the hearing, submit evidence, question and cross-examine witnesses, and essentially make sure the hearing goes as smoothly as possible.
Review by the Appeals Council
If the administrative law judge denies your claim, the next step is to request that it be reviewed by the Appeals Council. At this stage, there are three likely outcomes:
- The Council can deny your request for review because it believes that the judge’s decision was valid and well-supported.
- The Council can review and approve your claim.
- The Council can review your claim and then return it to the administrative law judge for reconsideration.
If your claim is returned to the judge, you may need to attend another hearing. If the Council rejects your appeal, then your last remaining option is to file a lawsuit in federal district court.
Filing Suit with a Baltimore Social Security Appeals Lawyer
Filing suit in federal district court is a big step. The legal system is particularly difficult for non-lawyers to navigate, and even a procedural mistake can jeopardize your entire claim. If you haven’t already engaged a lawyer at this point, we strongly recommend speaking with a Washington DC Social Security appeals lawyer to discuss your case and whether this option is right for you. Ultimately, it is your last opportunity to get the benefits you need, so it is critical that this step is handled correctly.
Re-Applying for Benefits
Without a doubt, the appeal process is onerous and time-consuming. As a result, many people think that simply re-applying for benefits is a better course of action. While the initial determination will take less time than following the appeal process, the fact of the matter is that you will likely be denied again. In fact, having a prior denial may actually work against you. And if you are denied a second time, you will eventually have to pursue an appeal, meaning that you will have incurred an additional delay than if you had pursued an appeal at the outset.
How Long Does the Social Security Appeals Process Take?
The SSA does not publish how long it takes to navigate the appeal process. On average, it will take approximately three to five months for your initial claim to be processed. Depending on how far you need to go in the appeal process, your case could take up to a year or more. Working with a Baltimore Social Security appeals lawyer not only improves your chances of getting your claim approved but can also help you get your claim resolved more quickly.
How a Baltimore Social Security Appeal Lawyer Can Help
You are not required to hire a social security attorney to handle your SSD or SSI appeal. However, people who work with an experienced legal counsel are more likely to be successful in their appeal and get their claim approved. The Law Office of Emmett B. Irwin helps clients in the following ways:
- We perform a 360-degree review of your claim and the basis for your denial. We will then provide an assessment of whether you qualify for SSI and the likelihood of success for your appeal.
- We gather and review all of your pertinent medical records. We will identify any records that may be missing or incomplete and get the information necessary to fully document your claim.
- We work with your treating physician to obtain a detailed opinion that clearly explains your disability and limitations.
- If you need to request a hearing, we make sure you are fully prepared to provide a compelling testimony and can answer any questions calmly and accurately. We also will be prepared to cross-examine any experts that the SSA may call to testify to support the denial of your claim.
Contact our Washington DC or Baltimore SSI Appeal Lawyer Today
If you’re disabled and unable to work, your disability benefits can make a tremendous difference in your quality of life. Baltimore Social Security appeals lawyer Emmett B. Irwin knows how to navigate the appeal process so that you can get the benefits you need. If your claim has been denied and you don’t know where to turn, call us at 443-839-0818 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We work with clients throughout Maryland and surrounding states, including Washington DC.