How does the Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Appeal Process work?

How does the Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Appeal Process work?

What are the steps in the disability appeal process?

The Appeal Process

  • Initial Denial by State Agency
  • Reconsideration (where applicable)
  • SSA Administrative Law Judge hearing
  • SSA Appeals Council review
  • Federal District Court

*60 day appeal deadline at each step

Receiving the Initial Denial and Requesting a Hearing

In Louisiana, if your initial application for Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you have sixty (60) days from the date of the denial to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

The hearing before the ALJ is the most important part of the disability appeal process and is the part of the process where having a lawyer can benefit you the most. You should contact Matthew D. Lane, Jr. as soon as you receive the initial disability denial notice so we can evaluate your Social Security Disability claim, and if warranted, file your Social Security Disability appeal and help you prepare for your hearing.

Fill out and submit for a free Social Security disability claim evaluation or call 1-800-451-0300.

Administrative Hearing

You may have to wait up to one year from when you request a hearing until the actual hearing date. During that time, Matthew D. Lane, Jr. can help prepare for your hearing by gathering updated medical records, obtaining statements from your treating doctors, and meeting with you to ensure you are ready to testify at your hearing.

At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify under oath to the ALJ regarding your medical impairments, past work, education, and functional limitations. In short, you will get to tell the ALJ in your own words why you cannot work.

In addition, SSA may call vocational and medical experts to testify at your hearing. The attorneys at Matthew D. Lane, Jr. have the knowledge and experience necessary to effectively cross-examine SSA’s expert witnesses.

If you have a hearing already scheduled and don’t have legal representation, it’s not too late to call Matthew D. Lane, Jr. for a disability claim evaluation.

Following the hearing, the ALJ and his or her staff will prepare a written decision on your disability claim. It may take from 2-3 months to receive the ALJ’s written decision. If the decision is favorable, you will then begin to receive benefits.

Appeals Council

In the event you receive an unfavorable decision by the ALJ, you can then request review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is part of the Social Security Administration and provides the initial level of appellate review of ALJ decisions. Appeals Council review can take a significant period of time.

Essentially, the Appeals Council is empowered to correct flawed ALJ decisions. The Appeals Council may either refuse to grant review, remand your claim for another ALJ hearing, reverse the ALJ’s decision and order that you be paid benefits, or affirm the ALJ’s decision.

If the Appeals Council denied your claim, fill out and submit for a free Social Security disability claim evaluation or call 1-800-451-0300.

Federal Court

If the Appeals Council refuses to grant review or affirms the ALJ’s unfavorable decision, you have sixty (60) days from the date of the Appeals Council’s decision to file a civil action in United States District Court to seek appellate review of the denial of your disability claim.

Matthew D. Lane, Jr. is one of the few law firms in the Lafayette, LA area (known as Acadiana) and Central Louisiana that has the knowledge and experience to effectively litigate Social Security Disability appeals in the Federal Court system. We have a long history of representing Social Security claimants in Federal Court and maintain an active Federal Court practice.

Fill out and submit for a free Social Security disability claim evaluation or call 1-800-451-0300.