The Social Security Disability Appeals Process
April 14, 2016
Federal agencies like the Social Security Administration (SSA) exist to assist individuals who cannot stand on their own two feet. Not everyone who applies for SSA assistance qualifies or agrees with the SSA’s decision in his or her case. Fortunately, dissatisfied applicants can request the decision, or determination, to be repealed. Repealing the SSA’s determination does not happen overnight. There is a process the Philadelphia SSD lawyers of Larry Pitt & Associates can help you follow.
Within two months after learning the determination, dissatisfied applicants can send the SSA a letter or fill out the official forms to request a review, or reconsideration, of their case. They are encouraged to send the written request within two workweeks. During those two workweeks, they retain their benefits, given that they still meet the criteria. Then, the SSA tells them its reconsideration determination.
If dissatisfied applicants dislike the reconsideration determination, they can write the SSA a letter or fill out the official form to request for an administrative law judge to hear their case, within two months after learning the reconsideration determination. They can review their file to prepare for the hearing and send new evidence; nevertheless, they must appear in court at the scheduled date and time in person, via video chat, or via telephone. If they wish not to appear in court, they can request the judge to rule based on the evidence. Or, if they are unable to appear for any legitimate reason, they must notify the judge as soon as possible, no later than five workdays before the hearing date or a month after learning the reconsideration determination. Nevertheless, if they fail to appear in court, they lose their benefits.
If dissatisfied applicants dislike the judge’s ruling, they can write the SSA a letter or fill out the official form to request that the SSA’s Appeals Council review their case within two months after learning the judge’s ruling. They can send the Council new evidence, and then the Council looks at their case and might grant, deny, or dismiss their request. If the Council grants their request, it might return the case to the judge for another ruling, or it might make its own decision. But either way, it will notify the applicants and explain its decision.
If the applicants dislike the Council’s decision, they can take their case to federal court within two months after learning the Council’s decision. If they do not have attorneys on their side already, applicants should have attorneys for this part. Applicants should know: The federal ruling is generally final.
Larry Pitt & Associates has helped countless families throughout Pennsylvania get the help they need. To make an appointment with an experienced Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyer, please contact us. We proudly serve Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.