How to Appeal Your Denied Social
Security Disability Case
When you apply for disability benefits, there is a good chance that your application will be denied. Frequently deserving cases will be denied because the Social Security claims agent does not have medical records or other documentation to fully evaluate your claim.
If you are denied, do not give up. You can and should appeal your denial by filing a "request for reconsideration" within 60 days after receiving your denial. If your reconsideration appeal is also denied, you can and should request a hearing before a Social Security judge. Here, too, you have 60 days to file an appeal. You may wish to consult useful publications for assistance in completing Social Security's forms. Attorney Jonathan Ginsberg's Disability Answer Guide (Social Security disability forms) as well as the Nolo Guides are examples of written and recorded products that can help you make sense of the confusing appeals process and can significantly improve your chances at winning early.
When you request a Social Security hearing, your case will be assigned to an administrative law judge in your community. Unlike the Social Security claims agents, Social Security judges have much more decision making power to approve your case. In most cases, you are better off retaining a lawyer to represent you in a hearing before a judge.
Social Security lawyers will typically handle your case under a contingency fee contract, meaning that there is no fee unless you win. Often you can expect to pay your lawyer 25% of past due benefits collected. When you choose a lawyer, you will enter into an attorney-client fee agreement that spells out the terms any fees that are charged.
If you lose at your hearing, there are two more levels of appeal - the Appeals Council and Federal District Court. Both of these appeals should be undertaken with the assistance of an experienced lawyer.