Baltimore Social Security Appeals Lawyer
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 Social Security appeals lawyer can help you get 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 SSDI Appeals Process
If your 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 Baltimore Social Security Appeals 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 Social security appeals 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 Baltimore 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 Baltimore 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.
Contact a Baltimore Social Security Appeals 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.