Our Chicago SSD Attorney Discusses Appealing Denied Claims
If you receive a denial of benefits for Social Security Disability or Social Security Supplemental Income, your Chicago SSD attorney will recommend that you file an appeal. You have the right to file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial. Information to file the appeal is contained within the denial documents. However, your attorney will help you through the appeals process. There are several things that you should keep in mind during the appeals process.
How Long Does an Appeal Take to Process?
There are three types of appeals that can take place concerning your case. Depending on the state you live in, your appeal may be handled by the Disability Determination Service (DDS). If this is how appeals are handled in your state, you may be able to have your case reviewed by a medical examiner within a few weeks of the initial denial. If caseloads are heavy, it may take several months. This is usually the fastest of the three levels of appeals.
If your state requires that your appeal is presented to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), your appeal process could take a year or longer to be reviewed. When you are required to go through the appeals process using an ALJ, you are required to wait until there is an opening in the Court docket to have your case heard. The final type of appeals process requires a hearing by a Federal Judge.
If your appeal is required to be heard in Federal Court, it is easy to assume that the appeal process will take at least one year, and possibly could take several years to be heard. Again, cases must wait until there is an available spot in the court docket. Of course, these are just estimates and actual time frames for an appeal can vary greatly based on location and the case load of the office handling the appeal.
Using Representation for an Appeal
Over 80 percent of all people who file an appeal when they are denied disability use legal representation. While it is true that you can represent yourself or appoint a non-lawyer representative, most people enjoy a successful appeal when they use the services of a Chicago SSD attorney for the appeals case.
Available Alternatives to Filing an Appeal
If you have been denied benefits, or if your benefits have been reduced or stopped, you do have other options available to you if you do not want to file an appeal.
• Reopening Your Claim. You can request that the Social Security Office reopen your claim and review the information. This is not an appeal. However, this may take some time to accomplish and it may end in the very same denial of benefits you received in the past. A denial to reopen a claim must be made within 2 years for SSI and 4 years for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), which is not reviewable on appeal.
• Start a New Claim. If denied and you do not file a timely appeal of the initial application, one may refile a new claim. This will start the process over again. This is usually only beneficial to you if you have new symptoms or your condition has worsened. Upon filing a new claim, the period denied cannot be considered, this is called res judicata, however in refiling the applicant may ask that the prior denial be reopened allowing one to receive benefits back to the onset date alleged in the prior unappealed application.
Starting the Appeals Process
If you are planning to file the appeal on your own, all the information you need for the procedure and which forms to use will be included in your letter of denial. However, you must remember that the Social Security Administration will require that you comply with all of their rules for filing an appeal. This includes filing the right paperwork and supporting documents within deadline times and to the right people and responding to all of their requests. Failure to comply with their deadlines and requests can cause your appeal to be denied.
If Your Benefits Have Been Cancelled, You May Still Qualify to Collect During the Appeals Process
If you were previously receiving disability benefits and it has been determined that something has changed in your situation and you no longer qualify for these benefits, you may still be able to collect during the appeals process. In your denial letter, you will receive form SSA-795. This form must be completed and returned to the Social Security Administration within 10 days of receiving your denial of benefits. This will help you continue to receive benefits during the appeals process.
Call a Chicago SSD Attorney Today about Your Case
Chicago Disability Law has four attorneys dedicating their practice to helping those in need of disability benefits. As experienced and dedicated disability attorneys, the firm understands the entire application and appeals process and will aggressively represent our clients.We represent most of our clients in the Chicago and suburban including the North Shore holding hearings in Evanston and Rockford. Our appellate practice is nationwide and we are referred most of our appellate cases from other representatives.
If you need to file an initial claim for disability benefits, or you have been denied benefits, you can contact us and arrange for a case evaluation. All disability cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that there are never any up-front legal fees. For aggressive legal representation, contact a Chicago/Evanston SSD attorney today. Serving Northern Illinois and Indiana as well as Southwest Michigan, where hearings are held in the Valparaiso hearing office.