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When a claim for Social Security disability benefits is denied , disability lawyers in Greensboro NC can assist with every step of an appeal..


If you have received a denial for your claim to receive Social Security disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your disability lawyers in Greensboro NC will explain the steps you need to take when appealing the decision the Social Security Administration has made. Those steps will include the following:

Reconsideration Request

If you were receiving benefits and they were stopped or if you were denied benefits in the initial claim, you can ask that the claim be reviewed again. Depending on the circumstances, you will either be asking for a reconsideration of the original claim or a reconsideration of an ongoing disability claim. If the original claim has been denied, you must ask that there be reconsideration. In the notice that your claim was denied, there will be information regarding your ability to appeal the decision. Your entire claim will be reviewed. This will be conducted at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) level. Those who conduct this reconsideration will not have had any connection to the original decision. Out of all the requests, approximately 5 to 10 percent will be granted. If the claim is again denied, there will be a notice sent to you informing you of the decision. There will be an explanation for the decision in the notice. Those who were receiving benefits and were informed that they are being stopped can also request reconsideration. A person who is receiving benefits will be subject to a periodic review of whether or not the benefits should continue. There can be numerous reasons for the benefits to be ceased including a decision that your condition has improved sufficiently for you to go back to work or if you do not comply with the continuing disability review (CDR). You are entitled to appeal the termination of benefits. To do so, you must go before a disability hearing officer (DHO) and request reconsideration. Prior to the claim going to the DHO, there will be a second review conducted by a different DDS claims examiner and medical consultant. They might decide to issue a reversal of the decision to cease benefits and reinstate them. In spite of the fact that the DHO is not a medical professional, they can make decisions based on their medical opinions regarding how severe your impairments are. Remember that the SSA is required to present reliable evidence that your illness or condition has improved enough for benefits to stop. It is a judgment-based decision and your treating physician’s opinion should be viewed as more important. For a borderline case, you stand a good chance of having the decision overturned and your benefits reinstated. In either case of a denial after reconsideration, the next step is to have a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Hearing Before An Administrative Law Judge

After the reconsideration request has been denied, you and your disability lawyers in Greensboro NC can move to the next step in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). This must be requested within 60 days from the date you received the denial. An ALJ is a lawyer who is employed by the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Much of their work centers around whether to uphold or overturn the decision that was made in reconsideration. An estimated two-thirds of the claims that the ALJ hears will be decided in favor of the claimant. If the ALJ upholds the denial, you can then move forward to the Appeals Council.

The Appeals Council

The Appeals Council selects cases on a random basis and they can decide to hear your case, decline to hear it, or dismiss it. It is unlikely for you to succeed with the Appeals Council. A late filing, dismissal request or death can result in the claim being dismissed without having a review. The Appeals Council has the right to dismiss a case without conducting a review except in the following cases:

  • There was an abuse of discretion or a legal error. Abuse could include a hearing being cut short. A legal error could be if the ALJ did not allow for the cross-examination of a witness.
  • The decision made by the ALJ was not bolstered by substantial evidence.
  • The case involves a procedural issue such as if the ALJ did not notify you that there would be an expert witness attending the hearing. Generally, the Appeals Council will seek out flaws in the decision made by the ALJ prior to deciding to allow a review. You have a 2 to 3 percent chance of winning your appeal. The next step is to request a federal court review.

Review In Federal Court

This is when it is most important to have help from disability lawyers in Greensboro NC. The federal judge will hear the case and there will not be a jury. The judge is only obligated to look for legal errors that might have been made, but some judges will examine the circumstances involved in the case as well. In around one of every three cases, the federal judge will reverse either the ALJ or the Appeals Council. There can be a number of reasons for this including the failure to give enough weight to the opinion of the treating doctor, failing to account for the pain and symptoms of the claimant, or not asking the doctors to provide an assessment of the claimant’s ability to return to work. Fewer than 1 percent of claimants go to this step.

Call Our Experienced Disability Lawyers In Greensboro NC

If you have questions about the appeals process, call 704-815-6055 to speak to disability lawyers in Greensboro NC at the Bridgman Law Offices.

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