If you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) benefits and your application is denied, you may appeal the decision with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Because the SSDI appeal process involves short deadlines and administrative hearings, you might want to contact a California disability hearings attorney as soon as you receive notice that your disability application was denied. An attorney can explain your options and the process for appealing denied Social Security disability benefits.

Filing for a Reconsideration of a Denial of Benefits

The first step in appealing an SSDI denial is to request a reconsideration of the denial. A reconsideration does not involve a Social Security disability hearing. During a reconsideration, another person performs a complete review of your claim. This person is someone who was not involved in the initial review or determination for your SSDI application. You may also present new evidence with your request for reconsideration.

If the reconsideration is denied, you may then ask for a Social Security disability hearing.

What Happens at a Social Security Disability Hearing?

A Social Security Disability Hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge (ALJ). The hearings are typically held within 75 miles from your home. Before the hearing, the SSA may request additional information or evidence about your claim. You may also review the information in the SSA file and provide new information that pertains to your disability claim. You may also have witnesses and expert witnesses (physicians, vocational experts, therapists, etc.) that appear at the hearing to provide testimony.

At the hearing, the ALJ questions you regarding your disabling condition, medical treatment, past employment, and educational background. The judge may ask you about your daily life and how the condition impacts your ability to care for yourself or others. You will be asked about your limitations and help that you require because of the condition. The ALJ also questions your witnesses at the hearing.

Your attorney or representative may you questions to further explain to the judge how your condition results in disability and prevents you from working. If the SSA presents witnesses, you or your attorney may question those witnesses.

If you cannot attend the hearing for any reason, you must notify the SSA in writing. The judge may find that you don’t need to appear at the hearing. However, it is usually to your advantage to appear at your Social Security disability hearing, retain a disability attorney to represent you at the hearing, and have expert witnesses to testify on your behalf at the hearing. The more evidence you can present at a Social Security disability hearing to establish why your condition qualifies as a disability, the better chance you have of receiving SSDI benefits.

After the hearing, the ALJ considers the evidence and issues a ruling. You receive notice of the ruling by mail. If you disagree with the ruling, you and your disability lawyer can discuss additional options for appealing the ALJ’s decision.

Contact a California SSDI Attorney for More Information

You are not required to hire a lawyer to file an SSDI appeal. However, we strongly urge you to consider contacting our California SSDI attorney to discuss the benefits of hiring a lawyer to appeal a Social Security decision. The appeals process is complicated. An experienced attorney understands the process and knows what evidence is required to give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Contact us today.