According to figures from the Social Security Administration, approximately 62.1% of all disability applicants are initially denied. This means that filing an appeal with the help of Chattanooga Social Security disability lawyers can be especially important if you are to eventually claim the necessary benefits.
If denied benefits, the next step in the process is a reconsideration review. This is essentially a paper review performed by another claims examiner within the Disability Determination Services (DDS) department. In many cases, a medical consultant also looks over the records in order to determine if there was something that was overlooked by the first claims examiner that would make it obvious the applicant is indeed eligible for disability benefits.
A request for reconsideration must be filed within 60 days in order for it to be permitted. A good number of claims are denied at this level as well, which is why it is important to include any new medical information you may have concerning your case. If your condition has deteriorated significantly since your initial application, having another medical examination could work to your advantage.
Even if denied at the reconsideration stage, your chances for appeal are not over. A denial here will allow you to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The Social Security Administration estimates that only 18% of those who have been denied reconsideration will request such a hearing; however, this is where the greatest number of benefits are awarded. Approximately 81.4% of applicants who receive an ALJ hearing will eventually be awarded compensation.
Should you be denied benefits at an ALJ hearing, you then have the right to request a review in front of the appeals council. This council is made up of administrative appeals judges who will look at all documents to include the ALJ’s findings. This panel may overturn a previous decision or return it to the administrative law judge for further action. An unsuccessful appeal at this stage will make your case eligible for review in federal court.
When it comes to Social Security disability benefits, there are several levels of appeal built into the system. This means there are plenty of opportunities to challenge unfair decisions, and it can often be in your best interest to do so. To find out more about filing a disability appeal, contact us.