For clients who have been denied social security disability benefits, it is possible to appeal that denial. A formal appeal needs to be submitted in writing within 60 days of receiving notice of the denial. It is assumed that you received the letter no later than five days after the denial letter was mailed to you. There are three levels of appeal. Our Joplin social security disability attorney can help you get prepared for the hearing.
You Should Be Prepared for Your Disability Appeal Hearing
It is not at all uncommon for clients who apply for Social Security Disability to be denied benefits initially. Consequently, many clients need assistance with appealing that denial. Before you will be entitled to an appeal hearing, there are two levels of appeal that must be completed. When you get to the point of having a hearing, it might take almost a year to get it scheduled. Since getting to this step can be a challenge, it is critical to be prepared. Following are a few tips that our Joplin social security disability attorney wants to share.
You Need to Have Updated Medical Records Prepared
As with personal injury cases, establishing a disability requires gathering the appropriate medical evidence to support your application. This way, when you attend your social security disability hearing, you will be prepared to present your medical records. There should not be any gaps in your medical history and treatment for the condition for which you are claiming disability.
Remember that the Social Security Administration is not required to obtain any of the necessary medical records for you prior to the hearing. Any records that may have been provided initially or obtained by the claims examiner when your claim is first evaluated need to be updated. The hearing office is not responsible for that.
Obtain a Statement From Your Treating Physician
The principal component of the medical evidence of your disability is the medical opinion of your treating physician. In order to be successful at your disability hearing, you must have a statement of support from your treating physician in order to establish your condition and how it has affected your life. There must be what is known as a “medical source statement” which explains in detail the work activities that you are incapable of doing as a result of your medical condition. This explanation is referred to as your functional limitations. For instance, if you cannot sit or stand for more than 20 minutes, or if you unable to lift more than 20 lbs., your physician needs to explain those limitations clearly.
Have Your Joplin Social Security Disability Attorney Review Your Case File
One thing many applicants for social security disability benefits don’t realize is that they can request a copy of their entire case file from the Social Security Administration in order to prepare for their upcoming hearing. At this point, if not before, it is wise to have your Joplin social security disability attorney make that request and review the file with you.
It is crucial that you take this opportunity to review the file in order to ensure that there aren’t any missing medical records or any other mistakes that led to your claims examiner to deny your benefits. Another benefit of reviewing your file ahead of your hearing is being able to better prepare the arguments you will need to make in support of your claim.
It is Wise to Be Represented by a Joplin Social Security Disability Attorney
Being represented by a Joplin social security disability attorney during your disability appeal hearing is very important. Your attorney can handle obtaining and submitting your updated medical records and medical source statement. Your Joplin social security disability attorney will also prepare you for answering questions that will be posed to you by the Administrative Law Judge. Any other preparation can be taken care of and all you need to do is arrive on time to your hearing.
When Do You File an Appeal in Federal Court
If your hearing before the Administrative Law Judge is not successful, you can request that the Appeals Council review the Judge’s decision. If the Appeals Council agrees with the Judge or denies your request to review the case, you can decide to file a lawsuit in federal court to challenge your denial. The deadline for filing a lawsuit in federal court is 60 days from the date of the Appeals Council’s decision either denying your request to review or affirming the Administrative Law Judge’s denial.
It is again wise to have a Joplin social security disability attorney represent you in the federal lawsuit. This part of the appeals process will likely take at a year to complete. Once you reach federal court, there are three potential outcomes: the case can be remanded to the ALJ for reconsideration; the court can affirm the ALJ’s decision, to deny your claim; or the court can reverse the ALJ’s decision and award you social security benefits.
If you have questions regarding appeals, hearings, or any other social security disability matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.