Types of Disability Appeals


Social Security Disability Lawyer Discusses Types of Disability Appeals

We recommend that you consult with an experienced disability lawyer before appealing a Social Security Administration decision. If you have filed a claim for disability benefits and the Social Security Administration has denied it, you can appeal denials of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)or Social Security disability (SSDI) claims, or both.

The first appeal is a “request for reconsideration.” If another unfavorable determination is issued, the next appeal is a “request for hearing.” A Social Security disability lawyer can help you through the process of appealing your Social Security disability case.

Request for Reconsideration

If your application is denied, the next step is a request for reconsideration. It asks the Social Security Administration to review the unfavorable determination that they made in your case. In your denial or termination letter, you will find information about how to appeal the decision.

You can file an appeal online at www.ssa.gov, or you can contact a local office of the Social Security Administration to begin this process. Social Security will review all aspects of your original claim. In this review, medical professionals and an examiner who were not part of your original claim will review your medical records.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is the state agency in Ohio that makes disability determinations at the initial and reconsideration levels. OOD reverses the initial decision less than 20% of the time at the reconsideration level.

If Social Security denies your claim at this level, they send a notice of reconsideration explaining why you were denied. The notice will also tell you how to appeal. We recommend that you schedule a consultation with a Social Security disability lawyer if you have been denied disability benefits by Social Security.

Request for Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

If your case is denied at the reconsideration stage, the next step is to request a hearing. An ALJ will, in most cases, conduct a hearing and issue a new decision. While ALJs work for the Social Security Administration, they are independent decision-makers. For the first time, you are given a chance to explain about your disabling conditions and how they affect you.

You will answer questions about your work history, medical conditions and your treatment for them, symptoms, limitations, and activities. About half of claimants’ claims are granted at this level.  We especially recommend that you have an experienced disability attorney to advocate for you at this level and beyond.

Request for Review (Appeals Council) and Federal Court

If an ALJ denies your claim, the next step is to file a request for review, which is decided by a part of Social Security called the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council does not re-decide your case. It evaluates whether the decision issued in your case has an “error of law” (failed to follow the law, regulations, and other rules) and whether there was “substantial evidence” (enough that “a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion”) that supports the decision’s conclusions.

The Appeals Council rarely reverses decisions made by ALJs. More often, it will “remand” your case for a new hearing with specific instruction, when it has found an error of law or conclusions that are not supported by substantial evidence. The average time between filing of the request for review and a decision from the Appeals Council is 10 to 12 months.

If your claim is denied by the Appeals Council, there are no further appeals to the Social Security Administration. Your last recourse is to file a complaint in Federal Court, alleging that Social Security has failed to make a legally adequate decision under the law in your case.

The federal court also only rarely reverses decisions. Like the Appeals Council, it will more often “remand” a case to Social Security when it agrees that the decision contains errors of law or conclusions that are not supported by substantial evidence. This is a complicated process and usually takes more than a year to obtain a decision.

Contact an experienced disability lawyer from Roose & Ressler today at (800) 448-4211. Roose & Ressler has dedicated lawyers who will help you fight to get the best results from your disability case.