If you are counting on your Social Security Disability claim, it can be devastating to learn that your claim has been denied. There are still steps you can take to help you receive the benefits you deserved, however. If your claim has been denied, learn what your next actions should be.
Appeal the Decision
You have a very limited time to appeal the decision after your claim has been denied. The deadline for appeals is only 60 days, so it is crucial to start the appeals process as soon as possible. Contact a personal injury attorney who is experienced with cases involving social security benefits. They can help you with the appeals process and have the necessary knowledge and skill to increase your chances of a successful appeal. Failing to file an appeal in a timely fashion or filing a new claim will forfeit your right to appeal the decision.
To appeal the decision, you will need to request reconsideration within 60 days of the denial of your claim. After your request a reconsideration, a second disability claims examiner will look at your file and make a new decision. If this does not result in your claim being accepted, you may need to pursue another level of appeal, and request an ALJ hearing.
Prepare for Your ALJ Hearing
An ALJ hearing is a hearing that serves as the second level of appeal for Social Security Disability claims. The hearing is with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). An ALJ hearing may be requested within 60 days of the denial of a reconsideration.
With your lawyer, you will need to prepare for your hearing. After you have contacted the Social Security office to request an ALJ hearing, you will need to re-examine your claim to determine why it was denied the first time. Your lawyer can help you look for errors that may have cause the denial, or can help you gather evidence to help you strengthen your case for your appeal. You will want to present the most recent and current medical records available to provide the judge with the information they need to make a ruling. Your attorney will also draft and submit a brief. This document outlines your case and lays out your arguments for why you should be awarded disability benefits.
At Your ALJ Hearing
At this hearing, the judge will take a look at the claim, as well as any new medical evidence that you have submitted to support your claim. The judge will also interview you and a vocational expert at the hearing. The vocational expert can provide critical information about the requirements of your job, and your lawyer should argue that you are no longer capable of meeting these requirements. You may also be asked questions about weaknesses in your case. Ask your attorney to help you find these weaknesses in your arguments. They can also help you prepare and rehearse answer to questions they expect that you’ll face.
You may also ask one or two witnesses to testify on your behalf. These witnesses should be individuals who interact with you on a daily basis, such as a roommate or coworker. They should be able to testify about your struggles at home or at work. If you have more than one witness, be sure that your witnesses can each testify to a different aspect of your life, such as your work life and home life.
It can take a long time to get a hearing date, but your best chances of appealing your claim can occur at the hearing. There, you are able to defend your case with the help of your attorney. You may request the opportunity to further clarify a final point or question that you feel were not properly addressed by submitting a second brief after the hearing. If permission to do so is granted, you will want to submit the brief quickly and only address the certain question or topic that permission was granted for.
It is important to ensure that you have prepared for your hearing and have a strong case. If you are facing your ALJ hearing alone, it is possible that you may not present your case in the best possible way. A personal injury lawyer with experience handling social security claims may give your case the edge you need to win your appeal.
At the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr., we are committed to protecting the rights of our injured clients. Our team of Worcester Social Security attorneys can help you with your Social Security Disabilities claim, and we will work tirelessly to help you develop and present your case. Contact our offices today at (508) 926-8833 to request an initial consultation.