Social Security Disability Law: Working Through The Appeals Process

Filing for long-term Social Security Disability benefits can be an exhaustively frustrating process. In fact, most Social Security Disability claims will be unsuccessful the first and even second time you file. A Social Security Disability law attorney can help you successfully navigate the appeals process to help you get the benefits you need.


The first time you receive a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you'll have 60 days to appeal the decision. You can petition for a reconsideration of your application, but your odds of success won't be great unless you thoroughly understand why you were rejected in the first place.

Clarify and Re-Apply

Many applications for long-term Social Security Disability benefits are rejected for reasons that aren't always clear. For instance, your denial letter might indicate that your application is incomplete, but not specify what makes it incomplete. If you file for reconsideration without a complete understanding why you were reject the first time around, your odds of success are likely to be quite low. Your attorney can not only decipher your denial letter, but they can also help you draft and submit a letter petitioning the SSA to clarify its initial rejection. Once your attorney clear understands why you were rejected, they will help you create a stronger application.

Hearing and Review

If your application for long-term Social Security benefits is rejected a second time, you'll need to petition the SSA to set a date for a hearing with an administrative law judge or a formal review by the Appeals Council.  The wait for both options can be several months and if your application is rejected by either, your odds of ever receiving Social Security Disability benefits will be small.

Documenting Your Claim

Many unsuccessful applications for long-term Social Security benefits stem from a lack of documentation. Your attorney will help you document every aspect of your case. From your medical records and medical bills to your W-2s and financial records, your attorney will provide hard proof where you need it. In most cases, this boils down to proving need and substantiating that you've paid into the system. When it comes to proving need, you'll need to clearly demonstrate that you're permanently disabled and that your disability will permanently prevent you from working again.  Many Social Security Disability law attorneys will hire experts who can testify and substantiate your claims.

For more information on Social Security Disability law, contact a local attorney.