When you file an application for Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income, chances are high in North Carolina that your application will be denied at the initial application stage. Chances still remain high that it'll be denied again after request a reconsideration. Chances of approval, however, become considerably more favorable when you appeal your denial and a hearing is set.
Below is a brief description of how Social Security disability benefit denials are appealed and other relevant information you should know in North Carolina. If you have questions about your own Social Security disability application, denial, and appeal, contact the Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC today. Lloyd King, an experienced Social Security disability benefits attorney, has two offices conveniently located in Raleigh and Roanoke Rapids but represents clients throughout North Carolina.
There are a few straightforward yet complex steps in an appeals process for Social Security disability claims Here's an overview of those steps.
Receipt of Denial Letter. After you apply for Social Security disability, you will receive a letter that it was either approved or denied.
Appeal Request. If your application was denied, you must request within 60 days of receipt of the denial letter that you wish to appeal. The assumption is: you receive the denial letter within five days of its issuance unless you can show it was received after five days.
Reconsideration. The first step in the appeals process is simply requesting the Social Security Administration (SSA) to reconsider its decision. An SSA agent who did not participate in the review of your initial application will review your claim during the reconsideration. You usually do not need to be present yourself at any time during this review unless your condition improves and you need to explain why you still qualify for disability. After the reconsideration, you will be informed by letter if your claim was denied or approved.
Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge. When the reconsideration decision is not in your favor, you can request a hearing. The Office of Hearing Operations (OHO), formerly known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), will set a hearing for you at an Office of Hearing Operations. You will go before an administrative law judge who did not participate in the initial determination or the reconsideration.
Before the date of your hearing, you can submit additional evidence.
At the hearing, the judge will ask you questions. You can also bring witnesses, like medical or vocational experts, and the judge can ask them questions as well.
After the hearing, the judge will make a decision and a copy of the same will be sent by mail.
Appeals Council. If the administrative law judge does not render a decision in your favor, you can ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council via an online form or through the OHO office in your region. The Appeals Council will review the administrative law judge's decision—you do not need to appear before a judge during this process. Upon review, the Appeals Council will either:
Make a Decision; or
Return the case to the administrative law judge for additional review.
Regardless of how the Appeals Council determines your case, you will receive a copy of its final action on your case.
Federal District Court. If the decision is still not in your favor after the Appeals Council review, you have one final opportunity to "appeal" by filing a civil suit in a Federal district court. This step is rarely taken but does provide one additional means to obtain Social Security disability if all else has failed.
The goal at Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC is that your initial application is completely filled out and supplemented with all the right medical evidence so that it's approved at the first stage of the disability benefits application claims process. If you have already filed your application, however, and it was denied, Lloyd King will review your case and application and help you appeal the decision. At the appeal stage, you can submit additional evidence and go before a judge to tell your story. Lloyd King will help you tell your story in a meaningful way both through the new evidence presented to the judge and by what you say to the judge directly.
If you suffer a disability that keeps you from working, you deserve Social Security disability benefits to help you and your family through this difficult time. Contact Lloyd King today to set up a free initial consultation.