Four Steps to the Appeals Process in an SSDI/SSI Case

Has your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits been denied? There are four possible stages to the process of appealing the denial of an original Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.

1. Request for Reconsideration

This is the first stage in the appeal if your application for Social Security disability benefits has been denied. You have 60 days after receiving the letter of denial to file the Request for Reconsideration. If you haven’t already sought legal help from our office, contact us immediately when you receive the letter of denial. We need as much time as possible to build a strong case on your behalf.

It will take about 3-5 months for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a decision on your Request for Reconsideration. If your Request for Reconsideration is approved, then you will receive SSDI or SSI benefits dating back to the date of your original application.

2. Request for a Hearing

If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, we will then file a Request for a Hearing on your behalf. In West Virginia, the hearing will be scheduled within about 10-13 months after we file the request.

Your hearing will be relatively informal, and it will be held before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Before the hearing, we will meet with you to prepare you for the hearing. Your attorney will review all the kinds of questions you may be asked. We will also make sure you completely understand your claim for disability benefits.

As your lawyers, we will be present with you at all times during the hearing. These hearings, including your testimony, usually take about 30-45 minutes. After the hearing, you should receive a formal decision in the mail within 30-90 days.

If your application is approved at this stage, you will start receiving benefits in approximately 4-5 months.

3. File an Appeal with the SSA Appeals Council

If your SSDI/SSI application is denied at the hearing stage, then two additional levels of appeal are possible. The first is an appeal to the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration. The Council will look at all appeals, but may deny a request if it believes the decision was appropriate. If the Council disagrees with the prior decision, it will either decide your case itself or return it to an ALJ for review.

4. Last Stage: File an Appeal with the Federal District Court

Your fourth and final recourse is to file an appeal with the Federal district court. At these later stages of appeal, it is more important than ever to make sure your case is prepared and presented by a law firm with advanced experience in SSDI and SSI claims.

If you did not have a lawyer’s help with your initial application — or if you are unhappy with the way your original lawyer handled your SSDI/SSI case, now is the time to contact Jan Dils Attorneys at Law. For decades, our law firm has focused almost exclusively on helping clients get the government disability benefits they deserve — even after their applications for disability benefits have been denied.

In SSDI/SSI cases, we never require upfront fees from our clients. Instead, our lawyers’ fees are taken as a percentage of the eventual award of benefits to our clients. This amount is capped by the federal government at $6,000 — no matter how much time and effort we put into your case.

If you have questions about appealing the denial of your SSDI/SSI application, we encourage you to contact our office immediately to find our how we can help. Schedule a free initial appointment, either by phone or at one of our five West Virginia offices — in Parkersburg, Charleston, Logan, Huntington or Beckley – and Charlotte, North Carolina. Call 877.526.3457 or send us a message.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law