East Tennessee Social Security Disability Lawyers Helping You Through the Appeal Process
You painstakingly and carefully submitted all information requested for your Social Security Disability claim and also submitted to an additional medical examination, but were still denied benefits. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has an appeals process, so don’t let the disappointment of your denial prevent you from pushing forward to get your benefits. When you receive the “Notice of Disapproved Claim” and you disagree with the disability decision, you can move forward with an appeal.
Applicants who are represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney have a higher chance of being approved for benefits than those who proceed without any representation. Our Morristown Social Security Disability attorneys at The Terry Law Firm have more than 50 years of experience in the legal field, and know how to help you move forward with the appeals process.
In order to file an appeal, you will need to provide the following information:
- The name and contact information of someone else who knows about your illnesses, injuries and conditions AND is willing to provide information to SSDI representatives.
- An update of any changes in your condition since you filed your initial disability report, including new physical and mental limitations and new conditions.
- Updated medical staff contact information.
- Information pertaining to each medical test that you have had since you last completed a disability report.
- A complete list of all current prescription and over-the-counter medicine that you take and the doctor who prescribed it.
Steps in the Appeals Process
Individuals who are appealing their denial must go through the four steps, in the order listed, to complete the appeal and reach a decision on their disability. If your disability is denied during reconsideration, you then have 60 days to appeal to the next level until your receive approval of your disability claim or you have exhausted all your options in the process.
Below are the following steps for the appeals process:
- Reconsideration: The first step is to formally request an appeal. A Request for Reconsideration and an Appeal Disability Report must both be submitted. Your case will then be forwarded to the State Disability Determination Services office. Your medical records and additional information will be reviewed and the examiner, different than the original one assigned to your case, will make a new determination about your disability. If you are denied, move to the next step and schedule a hearing.
- Hearing: You must complete a Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge and an Appeal Disability Report. In addition, if you want to meet in person with the judge you can request an appointment. After talking with you and your representative, if you are working with one, the judge will notify you in writing of his or her decision on your case. If your benefits are denied, move to the next step and request a review of decision.
- Appeals Council Review: You must complete a Request for Review of Decision / Order of Administrative Law Judge. Your request will then be sent to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The assigned reviewer will evaluate your medical records and notify you in writing of the decision on your case. If your benefits are denied, move to the next step and request a district court case.
- District Court Case: You usually have an attorney at this level of appeal. He or she must file a case against Social Security in District Court. Your case will be heard by a District Court judge who will notify you in writing of the decision on your case.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With a Social Security Appeal Process Attorney Today!
During your free initial consultation, we can let you know if you have a legitimate case for an appeal. If you do, our Morristown Social Security Disability lawyers can walk you through every step of the process as we work towards getting you the benefits you deserve.
Call us at (423) 586-5800 to learn more.
Social Security Disability
Social Security will pay you benefits if you cannot work because you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in your death. This description is the federal government’s definition for disability and will be used to determine whether your situation qualifies you for disability benefits. The definition limits the disability payments to long-term only and does not give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability. Primarily, if you have paid enough in Social Security taxes – at least half of the working quarters since you turned 21 years of age – you are eligible to file a claim for Social Security Disability if you become disabled.
To get disability benefits, in addition to meeting the disabled definition, you must also meet two different earnings criteria:
- A “recent work” test based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
- A “duration of work” test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.
The Social Security office will review your application to determine whether you worked enough years to qualify and to assess the level of your current work activities. If you meet these criteria, your application will be passed on to the Disability Determination Services office in your state which completes the disability decision for the Social Security office.
The state agency will ask your doctors and specialists for information about your condition and will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information.
Specifically, they will ask the medical team for the following information:
- What your medical condition is
- When your medical condition began
- How your medical condition limits your activities
- What the medical tests have shown
- What treatment you have received
In addition to the above, they also will ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions. Your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled. Additional medical information may be needed before a final decision can be made. It is possible that the state agency will ask you to go for a special examination. Although the preference is to use your current doctor, the exam may be conducted by another qualified physician.
According to the Social Security Administration the length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim can take from three to five months.
It can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on:
- The nature of your disability;
- How quickly medical evidence is obtained from your doctor or other medical source;
- Whether it is necessary to send you for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim; and
- If your claim is randomly selected for quality assurance review of the decision.
Yes. The Social Security Disability Insurance has an initiative called Compassionate Allowances (CAL). This is a process whereby the Social Security office can provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. There are 88 qualifying rare diseases and cancers on the list. Compassionate allowances allow the office to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that qualify under the Listing of Impairments, based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate allowances allow Social Security to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals and get their benefits to them.
It is possible that certain members of your family qualify for benefits based on your condition and your previous work.
Those family members include:
- Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older
- Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled
- Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time
- Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
- Your divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your benefit or any benefits due to your current spouse or children.