Preparing for Appeals and Hearings
There are four opportunities for appeals in the application process when your original request for disability benefits has been denied. The first appeal must be made within 60 days following the denial of your initial application, and your claim will need to be updated with any relevant medical or employment information. A different person from the SSA than the one who initially reviewed your claim will be assigned to your case. You can greatly improve your chances of having your claim accepted by using the services of a dedicated lawyer. A skilled and effective legal representative from our firm understands your frustration. We also understand the important points in the appeals process that can make a difference to those reviewing your claim.
About the Hearing Process: Taking a Closer Look
The first appeal will be responded to within three to six months. If the claim is rejected again, you have 60 days to notify the SSA of your appeal. At this stage, your appeal is scheduled for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ acceptance rate varies widely amongst the ALJ's throughout the country. You are allowed legal representation at this hearing and we recommend that you attend the hearing with your attorney in order to have the best chance of approval.
Our firm works hard to prepare you for this hearing so you can feel confident and comfortable answering the questions the ALJ may pose. Witnesses, such as a doctor or vocational expert, may be called to testify. Your attorney may also question the witnesses. The entire hearing process can take up to a year, sometimes more. If the judge denies your claim at this stage, you have two more opportunities to appeal.