DISABILITY CLAIM AND APPEAL PROCESS
Stage One : INITIAL APPLICATION
You should apply for Social Security disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. If you wait more than 18 months after you last worked to file a claim each month after that begins to cost you monetary benefits. One simple phone call can begin your application for Social Security benefits. You may :
¨ Apply for disability benefits online at the Social Security Administration website.
¨ Apply by phone by calling Social Security Administration's toll-free telephone number (800) 772-1213. (If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call them at TTY (800) 325-0778).
¨ Apply by visiting your local Social Security Office. Locate the Social Security Office nearest you.
A disability attorney may help you properly file your claim. Because we are so familiar with the application process, we can help develop your claim efficiently. Our experience shows that the earlier in the process we get involved, the stronger the claim. This stage generally takes 120 days. To make your SSDI/SSI application process go as quickly and smoothly as possible, contact The Social Security Disability Attorneys at the Law Offices of Sandra Serra, for high quality legal advice.
Please Call : 800-500-1985
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits requires extensive information about you, your injury or illness, your medical records and work history. The more accurate and specific you can be in your application, the greater the chance it will be approved. To know what the SSA wants and how to present it can be difficult. However our lawyer and paralegals are highly trained and experienced in the process, which will benefit you.
Stage Two: RECONSIDERATION
If your initial claim is denied, don’t accept Social Security’s decision that you don’t qualify and don’t lose hope. In 60% of all cases the claimant’s application is denied at this initial level. You have a limited time period to appeal this denial (60 days), so please be sure to contact The Social Security Disability Attorneys as soon as possible to help you protect your rights. We will submit a Request for Reconsideration and we will work with your medical providers to ensure all your medical evidence has been updated for Social Security. Attorney Sandra Mireles-Serra personally reviews each claim at this stage of the process. This stage generally takes between 3 and 5 months. Unfortunately 80% of all claims that are evaluated at this stage are denied.
Please Call : 800-500-1985
To discuss your case please call us today at 877-SSDA-US1 (toll-free). No one will work harder on your behalf to secure your benefits and remember we are on your side!
Stage Three: HEARING
If you receive a reconsideration denial, don’t give up and don’t get intimidated! Do not accept Social Security’s decision that you do not qualify. You have a limited time period to appeal this denial (60 days), so please be sure to contact The Social Security Disability Attorneys to help you protect your rights. Our staff will call you to discuss any new medical information or changes in your condition that have occurred. We will then appeal for a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The administrative hearing at this point is the claimant’s best chance to get a fair decision. At the hearing, the claimant is allowed to introduce new evidence to support of his or her claim, raise objections to evidence contained in the file, offer testimony, make legal arguments and cross-exam expert witnesses. It is for these reasons that an attorney is very important at this stage of the process. Statistically, over half of the claimants who have a Social Security disability hearing win.
Our law firm has won many benefits for clients through our persistence and experience. We have experience at the appeal levels. Our Disability Attorneys can help you through the appeal process. So please contact The Social Security Disability Attorneys, we will keep appealing until we feel there are no other options left.
Due to administrative delays and case backlogs, it takes more than ten months from the date you request a hearing before your case is actually heard. It is important that you keep treating with your doctors during this period. Likewise, it is important that you keep in touch with your attorney and apprise him or her of changes in your medical condition.
Stage Four: APPEALS COUNCIL
If the Administrative Law Judge denies your claim, you have the option asking the Appeals Council to review that decision. Our law firm appeals many unfavorable decisions based on what we believe our errors of law. The Appeals Council does not hold a new hearing, but rather reviews the evidence to ensure that the administrative law judge did not abuse his discretion and err in applying the regulations to the facts in your case. The Appeal Council considers new and additional evidence only where it relates to the period on or before the date of the hearing decision. This stage requires an attorney to file a legal brief and point out the areas were the ALJ has made reversible mistakes. The supporting arguments that can be made to get a decision reversed or remanded are numerous and vary from case to case.
The Appeals Council will either:
1. uphold the judge’s decision.
2. send your case back to the administrative law judge for a new hearing.
3. find that you are disabled on the very rare occasion they reverse the administrative law judge’s decision. This stage can take a year or more.
On its own motion, the Appeals counsel has the authority, within 60 days after the date of a hearing decision or dismissal, to review whatever action is taken, even if you did not request the Appeals Council to review your case.
Many, if not most, people who apply for SSDI/SSI without the assistance of an attorney are denied benefits. That doesn’t mean that you don’t qualify or can’t receive them. Let us help you avoid the pitfalls that plague this system.
To find out how you may qualify for SSDI/SSI please contact The Social Security Disability Attorneys at the Law Offices of Sandra Serra to discuss your injury or illness.
Experience that gets results!
Please Call : 800-500-1985
Stage Five: FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT
If the Appeals Council denies your appeal and or refuses to review your case, you have 60 days to file for review of your case in the Federal District Court. You should be aware that while non-lawyers can also represent people at the very early stages of the Social Security Process, they cannot take the case into the United States District Court., if necessary. You should also be aware that, as a general rule, both attorneys and non-attorneys charge the same fee for representation. We will review your case to determine if this is appropriate action to take for your claim. This can take a year or more. After reviewing the record from your hearing, the Federal judge can:
1. award disability benefits.
2. deny disability benefits.
3. send your case back for an additional hearing.
Although you are permitted to represent yourself at this stage, the technical and legal requirements of filing a District Court claim does call for the expertise of a trained attorney.
Please keep in mind that you must have medical evidence of some physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments, which keeps you from working in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administrations needs and relies on objective medical evidence when deciding if you qualify for benefits. This is why it is crucial to continue treating with your doctors during your application process.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: You need to know that the law allows only a limited period of time for Social Security claims to be brought and we can help you determine how much time you have left. If you do not file your claim within the time provided by law, it may be dismissed and you may be denied your benefits.