The Appeals Process
A Denied Claim Can Be Stressful
When making a Social Security claim, there is always the possibility that it could be denied. Many disability claims are denied at first, which can be disheartening when you are in need of financial help. Luckily, there is an appeals system in place to give you another chance. Even in cases where a person’s application for disability benefits is denied all the way through the administrative appeals process, the process may not be over. If your claim is denied after an administrative appeal, an appeal may then be filed with a U.S. District Court.
Whether you are facing an administrative or federal appeal, a skilled disability lawyer can make the process as smooth as possible and may even be able to give you a better chance at an approved claim. Our team at the Law Offices of Clark, James, Hanlin & Hunt, LLC, has been helping clients appeal denied claims and get the benefits they deserve since 1974.
The Administrative Appeals Process
For an appeal in Alabama, there are three steps after the initial review of your claim:
- Administrative hearing appeal. If your initial application is denied, you have 60 days to seek an administrative hearings appeal. An administrative law judge will consider medical evidence from your doctors and your own testimony. The judge bases the decision on the evidence before him or her, ignoring any previous denials and the reasons for them. This hearing is informal and represents the best opportunity to have your application approved. If your case is denied, an attorney will evaluate the case to determine if we may be successful in an appeal to the Appeals Council.
- Appeals Council review. If your hearing appeal is unsuccessful, you have 60 days to ask the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council to review your case. While you can send in a written argument, new evidence will generally not be considered. The Council will review your file and documentation already submitted.
- Federal court review: Should your case be denied by the Appeals Council, you have 60 days to file a lawsuit in your U.S. District Court. The court will not consider new evidence. Only the transcript from your administrative law hearing and medical records will be reviewed by the judge.
Throughout the appeals steps, your attorney will manage the process to ensure that all paperwork is submitted correctly and you are in the best possible position to have your claim approved.
Facing A Federal Appeal
In this situation, a federal judge will review your case to determine if the Social Security Administration was wrong to deny your claim. Your attorney must prepare a brief on your behalf, identifying reasons related to your medical condition, the law and procedural issues that are in your favor. Our team understands what evidence and legal matters to focus on in successfully resolving your case.
It is essential that your case be prepared properly when entering an appeal at the federal court level. And, since the judge will review whether or not proper procedure was followed by the Social Security Administration, it is crucial that you have a lawyer by your side capable of answering legal and procedural questions raised by the court.
Confident, Experienced Lawyers To Help You Appeal Your Claim
Our attorneys and staff have a great deal of experience entering appeals in federal court and understand how to prepare them and defend them in court. To speak with one of them regarding your case, call our Birmingham office today at 205-208-7980, or reach out through our online contact form and arrange a meeting.