Social Security Appeals and Denials Attorney
Applying for Social Security Disability isn’t an easy process. It can be tedious, time-consuming and endlessly frustrating. It’s even more disheartening when you find out that your application was denied.
You might be asking yourself what went wrong during the application process. Keep in mind that denials are common for SSDI applicants. Only about one-quarter to one-third of applicants are approved after an initial application. The appeals process offers you more chances for approval, but it is vital that any errors be fixed and a better case be made to the Social Security Administration.
John R. Colvin has assisted clients across Tennessee and Alabama to successfully make the case for SSDI benefits. If you’ve been denied by SSA and want help during the appeals process, contact John R. Colvin today to schedule an appointment.
Should You Appeal the Social Security Administration’s Decision?
While every case is different, the short answer to this question is yes. If your application was denied, you should definitely consider an appeal. Most claims are denied the first time around, and SSA allows applicants several opportunities for appeals. However, it is important to address the shortcomings of your initial application to have a chance at a successful appeal.
You don’t want to repeat the same mistakes that caused SSA to deny your initial application. As an applicant goes through the second, third and fourth possible stages of an appeal, the chances of an approval become more difficult, especially if you can’t provide additional evidence to those reviewing your case.
An attorney can help you review your initial claim to find out why it was denied and what should be done to maximize your chances of getting an approval during an appeal. As you’ll see below, the key to a successful appeal is identifying and fixing errors and offering SSA plenty of evidence to back up your claim.
Why Claims are Denied
A claim can be denied for several reasons. SSA could determine that…
- Your condition does not meet the disability criteria set forth by SSA.
- The medical evidence for the existence of your condition is considered weak.
- You have not been disabled long enough.
- You haven’t cooperated fully with SSA.
- You earn too much income.
- Your forms are either incomplete or contain errors.
Many people are surprised at how many applications are denied because of errors. However, the amount of detailed information requested by SSA leaves a large margin of error for many applicants. It’s incredibly important to be as thorough as possible in your SSDI application, and the same is true during an appeal.
A lack of ample evidence supporting the existence of a disability is another common reason for denials. SSA is notoriously stringent about the evidence provided, which is why having an experienced attorney handle your claim is in the best interest of an applicant.
How John R. Colvin Can Help
First, we will review your application and feedback from SSA to determine the underlying cause of the denial. We will make sure that any oversights or errors are addressed and adjusted for the appeal.
Next, we will evaluate the evidence and records you have supplied SSA to ensure that your case is being made as strongly as possible. One of the benefits of working with an SSDI attorney like John R. Colvin is the years of experience he can draw on when making a case for a client. He knows what works and what doesn’t, which eliminates any potential guesswork on your part.
Another benefit of working with us on your appeal is the amount of work we do on your behalf. Whenever possible, we gather the needed documents and organize them to present to SSA in a manner that is most effective. The amount of preparation required to launch a successful SSDI appeal is intensive, and having an attorney handle the process makes life much easier for clients.
The Stages of the Appeals Process
After a denial of the initial SSDI application, time becomes an even greater issue for the applicant. A request for an appeal must be made in writing and received within 60 days of the date on which you receive the letter containing SSA’s decision. There is a brief grace period to allow for mailing times, but it is in your best interest to act quickly.
There are four opportunities for appeal, each of which may result in either approval or another denial.
- Reconsideration – Your case, including your claim and any new evidence provided, will be reviewed by someone at SSA who was not involved in the initial denial. Your presence will not be required during reconsideration.
- Hearing by an administrative law judge – If a reconsideration doesn’t result in a favorable outcome, an applicant can request a hearing. Before the hearing, additional evidence can be submitted to strengthen your case. During a hearing, your case will be made before an administrative law judge, who might also ask several questions. Witnesses can also be questioned to aid your case. After the hearing, a judge will make a decision, which you will receive via letter.
- Review by the Appeals Council – If an applicant disagrees with the administrative law judge’s decision, a request can be made for a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council can deny a request, though they will send you a letter explaining the reasoning behind their decision.
- Federal Court review – Whether the Appeals Council reviews and then denies your claim or simply denies reviewing your claim entirely, you can appeal to a federal district court as an opportunity for judicial review.
Why Hire an Attorney for an SSDI Appeal?
A skilled, experienced SSDI appeals attorney will be familiar with the process of appealing a claim. They’ll know what SSA is looking for and what is most effective when making a case. Your attorney will maximize your chances of approval by gathering evidence and presenting it to SSA or administrative law judges. If needed, an attorney will also be able to contact expert witnesses to help make your case.
Most applicants aren’t familiar with evidentiary procedures, which is an essential aspect of the appeals process. An attorney will review the initial application and denial to determine what was effective and what wasn’t, then determine the best course of action.
Attorney Fees in SSDI Appeal Cases
John R. Colvin works strictly on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe him nothing unless your case is successful. If you receive SSDI benefits, we will deduct our fee from those benefits. We also offer you free consultations to help you determine whether you’d like us to handle your case.
Contact John R. Colvin for Help with Your SSDI Appeal
If you’ve been denied SSDI and are considering appealing the decision, it’s wise to talk to someone who knows the appeals process to maximize your chances of a successful claim. John R. Colvin helps clients in Tennessee and Alabama to make sure their case is made effectively and without error.
While the SSDI application and appeals process has a reputation for being difficult, enlisting the services of an experienced attorney can make that process less stressful and more likely to result in an approval. Time is of the essence when appealing an SSDI claim, so we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible.
For more than 20 years, John R. Colvin has helped clients navigate the SSDI application process. Put your claim in the hands of an attorney who knows how to get results. Contact John R. Colvin today.