Social Security Disability Federal Court Appeal Outcomes
Federal court judges can make three possible decisions on a claim:
When considering how to win a Social Security Disability Federal court appeal, its important to keep a few things in mind. First, as with any appeal, a lawyer representing a claimant cannot introduce new evidence. The Federal judge will only consider whether the ALJ who originally heard the claim made mistakes. If they did, they may reverse the denial and grant benefits.
In these cases, disability lawyers who regularly represent claimants at Federal court can advise their clients as to whether mistakes were potentially made in their claim. If so, the disability lawyer may advocate advancing the claim in a lawsuit in Federal court.
One way to improve your chances of success is to be sure your lawyer raises all pertinent issues at your administrative hearing with the ALJ. This allows these issues to be raised if necessary, upon appeal. The SSA sends a written transcript of the initial disability hearing for the Federal judge to review. As part of your appeal, youll be referencing what happened at the hearing and a thorough transcript is important.
You Did Not Meet Initial Requirements
If you were denied because you didn’t meet the initial requirements for disability, you will also be denied at the appeals level, with some exceptions. The Social Security Administration sometimes finds that the claimant has failed to meet one or all of the following initial requirements:
If you were denied because you were earning too much money, or your income and resources were too high , and you can prove that you are no longer earning too much money, or that you no longer have too much incomes and resources , you have a chance of winning on appeal.
If you were denied because your condition wasn’t considered severe, and your prognosis or the symptoms of your illness have changed for the worse, you have a chance at winning on appeal.
Ssd Appeal Lawyers In Alabama
Millions of people apply for Social Security Disability Benefits each year. Of those, according to Disability Benefits Help, only about thirty percent are approved on the first application. Of course, this number varies significantly from state to state, but if you are one of those 70 percent denied, it can be devastating. You find yourself disabled, unable to work and make a living, yet you have been turned down for the benefits you desperately need. Dont give up! There are four levels of appeal in the Social Security Disability process. At Carmichael Law Group, we can assist you with your Social Security Disability appeal, giving you another chance at the benefits you need and deserve.
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What Can You Expect At An Ssd Hearing
It’s normal to feel a little nervous when you know you have to appear before a judge and talk about yourself, but with good preparation and your Nashville disability lawyer by your side, you should feel confident about your chances. The hearing itself will likely be held in a Social Security office hearing room. If you are unable to travel, sometimes arrangements can be made for the hearing to take place by video conference.
You are not required to wear a dress or a suit and tie, but you want to be clean and presentable in your appearance. In attendance will be the judge and a court reporter and a vocational expert. Your attorney will be there with you along with a witness which may accompany you.
The Administrative Law Judge will ask you many questions, which your attorney will prepare you to answer. The Vocational Expert will dialogue with your lawyer and the judge to try to determine how your limitations will affect the types of jobs you can handle if any.
The First Paper Review: A Reconsideration
After your claim is rejected, the first step in the post-rejection process is that the Social Security Administration makes you look through a paper review of their decision. This review is known as a reconsideration and takes place at the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
At this stage of the post-rejection process, the chances of securing an appeal on reconsideration are very small, at about 13%. Very rarely does DDS take a look at a recently denied claim and reverse the decision. There would have to be something extremely significant to happen between your rejection and the reconsideration process. So when it comes to being at this level, dont count on winning on appeal.
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How Does The Federal Court Appeal Process Work In North Carolina
There are three Federal Court districts in North Carolina: the Western, Middle and Eastern districts. Claimants file a lawsuit in Federal court in the district in which they live and after receiving a denial from the Social Security Administrations Appeals Council.
As a reminder, individuals filing for disability benefits move through a progressive, four-stage process. They navigate to the next step in the process if their claim is denied at their current stage. The four stages of a Social Security disability claim include the initial application, the reconsideration stage, a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge and at the last stage, a written argument presented to SSAs Appeals Council.
Once a claim reaches the Appeals Council, SSA officials review the decision made by the ALJ at the hearing stage. If they uphold the denial of benefits, claimants have 60 days to determine if theyd like to continue their appeal at the Federal level.
Most claimants work with an experienced disability lawyer on their Federal appeal as the process is complicated and lengthy. Non-lawyer advocates cannot take a claim to Federal court.
During the Federal appeal process, a lawyer prepares a complaint that initiates the lawsuit. Then, the SSAs lawyer files a response, referred to as an answer. The answer will include SSAs reasoning as to why the claimant does not qualify for benefits.
Chances Of Social Security Disability Approval At The Appeals Council Level
Some of these claimants believe the ALJ did not decide their case properly or fairly. Many of them appeal their ALJ denial up to the next level the Appeals Council.
This Council is comprised of a number of Administrative Appeals Judges and staff whose job it is to review decisions of the ALJs to see if any mistakes were made. However, the odds that they will do that are low. Even though the Appeals Council has the power to reverse a denial by an ALJ, they rarely do this .
However, the Appeals Council also has the power to send a case back to the ALJ who decided it to correct any errors they might believe were made. The Appeals Council does this about 9 percent of the time.
So, essentially 90 percent of the time, the Appeals Council approves the ALJs denial of benefits.
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How Can An Attorney Help You With Your Social Security Disability Appeal
If you are disabled and unable to work, yet you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, do not face the appeals process on your own. The SSD appeals process can be extremely complex, and it is almost a certainty that you will have better results with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney from Carmichael Law Group by your side. We can help you understand the process, make sure crucial dates are never missed, take care of all the paperwork on your behalf, and keep you up to date regarding where your appeal is at any given time. To give yourself a much better chance of receiving the disability benefits you need and deserve, contact Carmichael Law Group today.
Contact us today for your FREE initial consultation.
Looking For A North Carolina Disability Lawyer
If you suffer from a disability and are unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits, and an experienced North Carolina disability lawyer may be able to help.
The disability team at Riddle & Brantley is led by a Board-Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law, with more than three decades of experience fighting for North Carolinians with disabilities.
We believe Justice Counts and would love to help you if we can.
Please call 1-800-525-7111 for a FREE consultation with an experienced North Carolina disability lawyer.
There are no upfront costs and no attorney fees unless we win your claim or appeal and you receive disability benefits.
Call 1-800-525-7111 today and lets discuss your case.
The consultation is free and there is no obligation. We only get paid if we win your case and you receive the benefits you need and deserve.
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What About At The Federal Court Level
And finally, if the Appeals Council does not overturn the ALJs decision , a lawyer can file a federal court lawsuit and ask a federal district court judge to overturn the ALJs decision. Appearing in federal court without an attorney, while permitted, would probably be a virtual waste of time because appeal issues must be framed in the proper way to have any realistic chance of success. With the assistance of a lawyer, you have a roughly 40% chance of having a federal judge either overturn the ALJs decision or send your case back to the ALJ for a new hearing and the taking of additional evidence. Oftentimes, a remand from a federal court judge results in a win.
Can An Attorney Improve My Chances Of Getting Disability At The Appeals Council
Now, what if, despite your and your lawyers best efforts, the ALJ denies your claim? The next step in the process is to ask the SSAs Appeals Council to review the ALJs decision for errors. Here again, an experienced disability lawyer knows how to frame appeal issues so that the Appeals Council will review the ALJ decision in the most effective way.
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Denied Disability Benefits Heres What You Should Do Next
Most importantly, dont give up. You can still appeal and win your case.
Its frustrating, irritating and crushing when the Social Security Administration denies your Social Security Disability claim. And while the appeals process can be a complicated process, success is still possible.
The majority of those who apply for disability benefits are turned down. But Greenville Social Security Disability attorneys Don Pilzer and Kevin Klein want to help you turn your denial into an approval.
There are four levels of appeals:
1Reconsideration: This is a review of your claim by someone who was not involved in the initial decision. Your original evidence is reviewed along with any new evidence you provide.
2Hearing by an Administration Law Judge : These hearings take place in the Social Security Administrations offices. At this appeals stage, you get to present your evidence before a judge who will issue a ruling. Most cases are won at this level.
3Review by Appeals Council: If the ALJ denies your case, you may ask the Appeals Council for a review. At this stage, the Appeals Council may return your case to the ALJ for a new hearing.
4Federal Court Review: If you disagree with the Appeals Council decision, you can file a lawsuit in Federal District Court. You must have an attorney admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court in your state of residence to represent you at this level.
Greenville Social Security Disability lawyers Pilzer Klein will:
How To Prepare For Your Ssd Hearing
As you prepare for your appeal hearing with the Administrative Law Judge, this is one of those times when you will feel fortunate to have the services of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer at your disposal because their support will be invaluable to you now. You’re in a place where after waiting so long to hear whether your application for benefits was accepted, you received a denial. The good news is, that your chances of getting approved have statistically been doubled. What is important now is that you spend time preparing as compelling a case as possible, meeting with your attorney and becoming thoroughly familiar with the facts of your case so that you can comfortably answer the questions that the ALJ asks, and so that you can be an effective advocate for yourself.
Here are a few things to think about and do to prepare for your disability hearing:
Take the time to practice having someone ask these questions and you being able to give well thought out, accurate responses. The hearing will be recorded, so you want to speak up and speak clearly so that everything you say will be understood. You cannot nod your head indicating yes or no while looking at the judge because that will not be recorded. Work with your experienced Nashville disability lawyer to support you in preparing for the hearing and representing you throughout the entire process.
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Administrative Law Judge Level
If your reconsideration is denied, your next appeal will be heard before an Administrative Law Judge. This is the hearing level where your claim has the highest chance of being approved, however, it could take twelve months or more for your appeal to be heard. According to the SSD Resource Center, about 50 percent of all cases heard before an ALJ are approved, however, this includes about 40 percent of unrepresented claimants and 62 percent of represented claimants. At this particular level, older applicants generally fare the best, because there is a formula used to determine a workers ability to learn a new trade or obtain suitable employment with their present level of skills and knowledge. Since there are fewer job options available to those who are over the age of 50, a judge is more likely to rule in an older applicants favor.
The Success Of Disability Appeals
In 2016, about 35.4 percent of all Social Security disability benefits claims were approved at the initial application stage, also called the initial adjudicative stage. This means that just about 65 percent of applicants did not receive awards right out of the gate. Not everyone appeals their initial denial, as some people may realize their claim was a long shot, while others are unsure of their right to appeal or the appeals process. This is only one of many reasons why you should always consult with a disability appeals law firm.
Those that do wish to appeal will request a reconsideration of their application. At the reconsideration stage in 2016, 41,139 awards resulted from 445,260 requests, meaning only 9.2 percent of reconsiderations were successful. The success rate is often low at this stage of the appeals process because your claim is being reviewed by the same agency that denied your claim in the first place. Even though a different examiner will handle the reconsideration, the likelihood is low that they will overturn the denial unless the initial examiner made an obvious error.
One of the most successful stages of the appeals process is the ALJ hearing. The same year as above, 12,535 decisions were made at ALJ disability hearings, with 5,826 approvals, which comes out to an approval rate of 46.5 percent. While the number of hearings is not as high as reconsiderations, a higher percentage of appellants are successful.
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One: Hearing With An Administrative Law Judge
The first step after an initial denial for most Louisiana Social Security disability claims is to file a Request for Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge .
This is generally the most important step of the entire Social Security disability benefits appeal process because it is where you have the best chance of winning your claim.
Important requirements to be aware of include the following:
- You are eligible to request an ALJ hearing if you have received a Notice of Denial from the Social Security Administration .
- Your request for an ALJ hearing must be made either in writing or online at the SSA.gov website.
- The request process requires you to update your personal information and provide additional information about your disability in order to be considered for benefits during the appeals process.
- Your request for a hearing must be made within 60 days of a Notice of Denial unless you have good cause for not appealing within the 60 days.
At the hearing, you will present all of your medical evidence to establish that you have a severe medical condition that limits your ability to work and prevents you from completing the work you did in the past and any other work.
Depending on the specific facts of your case, a vocational expert and a medical expert may be asked to testify.
Appeals Council Civil Complaint
If you are denied after the Appeals Council review, you may feel all hope is lost. However, there is actually one last option left for an appeal despite that less than 2% of all applicants file this request. If you disagree with the appeal councils decision, you have 60 days after you receive a denial letter from the council to file a civil action/complaint with your local Federal District court. The complaint is an overview of allegations against the SSAs decision to deny you benefits.
Unlike filing for any other part of the appeal process, there is a fee involved for filing a civil action in federal court. It is possible to request to have the fee waived if you cant financially afford it but this is not guaranteed and you will need to provide evidence of your financial situation.
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