Receiving the news that your Social Security disability claim has been denied can be devastating, but you may still be able to fight the decision. A denied claim is frustrating, but it doesn't have to be the end of the road for your claim. Here are the levels of appeal you may use to fight for your claim.
This is your first step to appealing your denied disability claim. A reconsideration must be requested within 60 days of the initial claim's denial. In this step, you submit a request for a second disability claims examiner to look at your case and make a new decision regarding your claim. If the second examiner also denies your claim, you can move to the next level of appeal.
The next step you'll need to take is to request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). An ALJ hearing must be requested within 60 days of the reconsideration's denial. In this hearing, you will present your case to an ALJ, who will make a new decision. This step typically allows you to submit new evidence if needed, update your medical records, and otherwise add support for your claim. The judge will ask questions of both you and a vocational expert to help them better understand your case. You may have an attorney present at the hearing. If the ALJ decides to deny your claim, you have two more steps you can take.
The third level of appeal is a review by the Appeals Council, who will review the ALJ's decision for errors, such as technical errors or failing to consider evidence in the hearing. There are several options the Appeals Council can enact:
- Reverse the ALJ's decision and grant approval of your case.
- Remand the case, and order a second hearing to be held due to errors in the first hearing.
- Deny your claim again.
If your case has been denied by the Appeals Council, you have one last step you can take. You may file a lawsuit in federal court, where your claim will be examined once again. If your claim does not prevail here, you will need to file a completely new claim and start over.
At Inman & Tourgee, we understand how critical it is for you to receive the disability benefits you need. We're here to help you, with more than 125 years of collective experience behind us. Our Rhode Island Social Security disability attorneys will always put you first, and we will work tirelessly to help your case succeed.
Contact our firm today by calling (401) 823-9200. Let's begin with a free consultation.