Social Security Disability Appeals

Initial Denial

Seeking the assistance of an attorney becomes immensely important after your initial application for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has been denied. Do not be discouraged if your initial application has been denied; the Social Security Administration (SSA) regularly awards benefits on appeal.

California and Florida Claimants

If you applied for benefits in California or Florida, the next step after the initial denial is the Reconsideration phase. Reconsideration allows the claimant to update their application with any information that has changed since the initial denial. Reconsideration must be requested within 60 days of initial denial.

The Hearing

If your claim is denied again at Reconsideration, claimants can request a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Our attorneys excel at this stage of the process, advocating fiercely on behalf of our clients.

Michigan Claimants

Michigan does not have a Reconsideration phase, instead, claimants who have their initial applications denied go straight to hearing. Again, this hearing must be requested within 60 days of denial. 

Beyond the Hearing Stage

If you are denied at the hearing stage, you can appeal that decision to the SSA’s Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is the final level within the SSA. It is not uncommon for the Appeals Council to take years to reach a decision on your case. The Council can uphold the denial of benefits, grant benefits, or remand the case back to the hearing stage for a “re-do.”

The Appeals Council is not your final option. Once you have been denied by the Appeals Council, you may take your claim to the Federal Court system. While this is a big step, it can be a viable option if you feel like your claim has been wrongfully denied.

Frequently Asked Questions

I was turned down on my initial SSD application and I was told to appeal the denial and request a Hearing.How long will it take to get before a Judge?

It depends on the state, but generally it takes about 12-16 months to get a Hearing from the time the Request for Hearing is filed.

Can my claim be expedited?

Some judges are willing to approve the strongest of cases prior to Hearing.

If you have very strong medicals or a very serious condition (and you haven’t engaged in substantial gainful activity for at least 12 consecutive months), we at Nyman Turkish, PC, may choose to draft and submit an on-the-record request (“OTR”) to the judge, which is a request for expedited consideration of the claim. 

Unfortunately, some judges never grant on-the-record requests. If you are assigned to one of those judges, we will have to wait to present the case at Hearing.

Do I have to attend the Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge?

It is your Due Process right to have your day in front of the Judge. It would be unwise to waive your right to testify in person. If you opt out of attending your Hearing, the judge is forced to render a decision based solely on the medical evidence, and won’t be able to ask you questions about how your impairments affect you on a daily basis and prevent you from sustaining full-time work.

Hearings are private and informal, lasting an average of 30 minutes. At Nyman Turkish, PC, we prep our clients very thoroughly prior to Hearing. We want you feeling as comfortable and prepared as possible for your Hearing.

How is a lawyer paid in a Social Security case?

Fees are set by law. Our fee is 25% of any past-due benefits we recover for you, capped at $6,000 through Hearing. (Note: The cap is set by the Commissioner of Social Security and is always subject to change.)

What happens at the Administrative Hearing?

Most judges will question you directly at the Hearing, though many judges prefer that our attorneys question you. Generally, you testify about your past work, your medical impairments, and why those impairment prevent you from working. Usually, a Vocational Expert (V.E.) will also testify at Hearing. The V.E. may opine as to jobs that he/she thinks you can do despite your medical impairments. As your lawyer, it is our job to cross examine the V.E., citing medical evidence as to why you cannot sustain such work.

Can I bring a witness with me to my Administrative Hearing?

Yes. Spouses, family members and former employers can add valuable testimony at Hearing. Keep in mind though,  Administrative Law Judges cannot allow a Hearing to go on too long, because their docket is very full. One witness can sometimes be helpful, but no judge is going to allow several witnesses. Time simply does not permit it.

A letter from a former employer, in particular, can be persuasive in an SSD case. Cooperative former employers can testify about when and how your prior work began to suffer due to your medical impairments.



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