Social Security Appeals Process

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Social Security Disability Hearings And Appeals Process

HomeIf Social Security denies your application for either Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you have the right to appeal their decision and request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. You can only file an appeal if your denial is a medical denial – namely, they did not believe your medical condition was severe enough to keep you from working. You must file an appeal within 60 days of the date on your denial letter. You can do this either in person at your local social security office, on-line, or via U.S. mail. Many claimants hire representatives to assist them in filing a disability benefits appeal and to build their case.

Once your appeal is filed, your case will be sent to an Office of Hearings Operations, or “OHO,” to await your hearing.   The name of the hearing offices recently changed — they used to be called the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, or “ODAR.” From the day your appeal is filed, it can take anywhere from 12-14 months for the court to schedule your hearing. Some OHOs have even longer waiting periods. The Social Security Administration is aware of the excessive delays and is taking steps to shorten the window.

Before Your Social Security Disability Appeal Hearing

Prior to the hearing, it is your responsibility to submit all updated medical records to the judge for review. It is important to submit this information in advance of your hearing, so the judge has enough time to review it. Effective May 1, 2017, the SSA is now requiring that all written evidence be submitted to the judge no later than five business days prior to the hearing.  This is called the “Five Day Rule.” Your judge can allow additional evidence up to or even after your hearing, if there is a good reason it couldn’t be provided earlier. If you have hired a representative, the representative will order your medical records, and will submit them on your behalf.  Additionally, your representative or attorney may submit a brief to the judge outlining why you should be found disabled pursuant to the SSA rules.

What Happens At The Social Security Disability Appeal Hearing

At the hearing, the judge will take your testimony regarding your ability to work – they will want to get a sense of what you are capable of, and evaluate if you could return to work in some capacity. After you testify, the judge will question a Vocational Expert (VE) who is present at the hearing, and will ask if they could place you in any jobs in the national or regional economy.  If you have hired an attorney or representative, they may ask you additional questions to help support your claim and cross-examine the Vocational Expert if necessary.

When To Expect The Judge’s Decision On Your Social Security Disability Benefits Claim

About two to three months after the hearing, you will receive a copy of the judge’s decision in the mail. If you’re approved, you can follow up with Social Security to begin receiving your benefits. If you’re denied, you can either file a new application or an appeal to the Appeals Council.

Appeal To The Appeals Council

The Appeals Council is a panel of adjudicators in Falls Church, Virginia, who process hearing denials. The Appeals Council will review your file to see if your judge made an error of law, and if so, may overturn the hearing judge’s finding, or request that your case be sent back for another hearing. If the Appeals

Have Questions About Social Security Disability Appeals? We Can Help

Please call us today at 855-MIKE-WINS or e-mail us to learn how our Michigan Social Security Disability Lawyers can help.


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