The Social Security Disability Appeals Process

Many disability applicants are shocked to realize the complexity and length of the Social Security disability appeals process. The appeals process begins with an initial denial that is sent via mail to the applicant. From there, the applicant can apply for a reconsideration of the denial. If the reconsideration is denied, as most are, the applicant is best-served by retaining a Washington disability lawyer to help navigate the confusing Social Security disability appeals process.

Following the reconsideration phase, the applicant must then apply for a hearing before an administrative law judge. A hearing may sound daunting and intimidating, but Social Security hearings are much less formal than a criminal or civil proceeding. All appeals processes carry a 60-day limit within which to file the paperwork – otherwise the application process begins again.

If the administrative law judge denies benefits, the applicant can appeal for a review by the Appeals Council. If the claim is still denied, the applicant may have one last opportunity to appeal the decision in federal court. A Washington disability lawyer can help all applicants decide which course of action is best-suited to their individual case. As such, a disability lawyer will adhere to the strict filing deadlines and will ensure that all appeals follow the federal guidelines.

Filing deadlines are very important when making a claim on the federal court level. The Social Security Administration (SSA) also adheres to guidelines principles and treats an appeal as filed on the day it receives the proper documentation. The SSA will instead refer to the postmark date on the document if using the receipt date would result in “the loss or lessening of rights.”

Applicants need not worry about strict filing deadlines if they choose to retain a Washington disability lawyer to handle their disability case. We are staffed with a number of experienced and educated disability lawyers and would be happy to review your case. Please contact us today for assistance.