Getting benefits for a disability through the Social Security Administration can be a challenge. The application itself requires detailed information about your condition, treatment and future recovery chances. Because of the in-depth requirements of the application, it's easy to overlook details or miss supporting information. Mistakes like these can cost you an approval. If you've applied once and were denied, it's important to exercise your right of appeal. Here's a look at what you need to know about the process before you file that appeal.
You Should Hire An Appeal Attorney
Although you might feel as though you can manage the appeal yourself, it's important not to dismiss the benefits of an attorney. The attorney can evaluate your medical records to help you ensure that you have sufficient supporting evidence for your appeal, and he or she may even suggest that you seek some additional medical exams to strengthen your case. He or she can also petition the Social Security Administration to ask them for a consultation with an in-house medical professional.
Appeals Are Handled In Two Steps
When you file an appeal, your case will move through two distinct steps. First, it will be reviewed by a medical consultant. That consultant will be a different person than the one who denied the claim originally. The purpose to this review is to determine if the denial was valid or if there is reason to reconsider. Depending on the current caseload, this review can take several weeks or more.
The second step of the process only occurs if the consultant determines that there is a valid reason to assess the case again. If he or she does find cause to re-evaluate, the case will be heard in front of a judge. It's hard to predict the time frame for this stage because it depends on the caseload of the court. Your appeals attorney can tell you what the current case schedule looks like to give you an idea of when you'll have your hearing. Then, you appear with your attorney to present your case.
You Might Be Able To Keep Current Benefits Even If a Renewal Is Denied
If you were initially awarded disability benefits and then were denied during a medical re-certification, you may be able to preserve your benefits while you're appealing the decision. Your attorney can help you petition the Social Security Administration to keep your current benefit payment cycle while you wait for the appeal determination.
Having your disability benefits denied the first time through doesn't have to be the end of the process. With these tips, you can file an appeal and potentially secure the benefits that you need. Talk with an attorney such as Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates LLC for more help.