Social Security and Veteran’s Disability Appeals

Were you denied in your application for Social Security Disability (SSD), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veteran’s Disability? We can help you appeal that decision. It can be a complicated process, so having our lawyers represent you helps make sure you’re following the right process.

Social Security Appeals

For Social Security appeals, the process for obtaining SSD or SSI benefits can often involve multiple appeals. If denied at the initial determination, you can request an appeal. The request must be in writing and received within 60 days from the date you received the decision letter. You can mail in the appeal or fill it out online at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/appeal.

Four Levels of Appeals

There are four levels of appeals in which Social Security makes a decision as to whether a person is disabled at each stage.

Reconsideration

At the reconsideration level, your claim is completely reviewed by another party who was not included in the initial determination. This includes re-examining all evidence originally submitted and any new evidence. You do not need to be present. However, if the appeal is for a denial based on your health improving to the point you no longer need disability benefits, you may meet with a Social Security representative in person to explain why you believe you still need the benefits.

Hearing

If your reconsideration appeal is denied, you can ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge who was not involved in the initial determination or reconsideration. Before the hearing, you may need to offer more evidence or clarification on current information. You may also review your current file and add new information.

At the hearing, the administrative law judge will question you, your witnesses, and any other witnesses (such as medical or vocational experts). These other witnesses may offer information, and you or your counsel can question them.

After the hearing, the administrative law judge will make a decision which you will receive by mail (including a letter and a copy of the judge’s decision).

Appeals Council

If you disagree with the administrative law judge’s decision, your next step is to ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review, but may deny the request if it believes the hearing decision was correct. If it reviews your case, it may decide the case itself or return it to an administrative law judge.

If your request is denied, you will receive a letter explaining the reasoning. If the Appeals Council reviews your case and makes a decision, you will receive a copy of the decision. If the case is returned to an administrative law judge, you will receive a letter and copy of the order.

Federal Court

If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision, the last appeal is to file a lawsuit in a federal district court.

Shifrin, Newman, Smith, Inc. represents clients at all levels of the appeal process, as well as the initial applications. The process can be complicated, and our expertise can help to make sure your appeals applications are filled out correctly and you follow the processes set forth by Social Security. Contact us and let us help make the appeals process easier for you.