After becoming disabled due to a serious illness or injury, most people find it a relief to finally complete their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application and submit it to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The application is thorough and complex, often requiring answers to difficult questions and requiring a lot of support documents. Unfortunately, many people who complete SSDI applications – especially alone and without an experienced social security disability lawyer in NYC like ours – will receive denials. According to statistics from the SSA, the initial acceptance rate if only about 22% with the overall acceptance rate just under 50%. These figures are shocking because most of us assume that applicants for SSDI who qualify will obtain the benefits they are entitled to.
However, the truth is that does not always happen. Many are “technical denials” which means that there could be errors in the application or the criteria, a lack of response, or many other basic or avoidable errors. This can delay an individual’s start of benefits. But in cases where an individual fails to timely appeal, it could become a binding decision that is very difficult to overturn.
Do not let this happen to you. If you or a loved one are applying for SSDI, call O’Connor Law to set up a FREE consultation to learn about your rights under the Social Security law. Our compassionate and experienced Social Security Disability lawyers in NYC can help you fight back after an SSDI denial to obtain the benefits that you deserve. To learn more, please call our skilled and knowledgeable team to schedule your FREE consultation.
The first and most important step after receiving a denial is to just breath. In most instances, this is fixable when you take action within the time prescribed on the notice. Individuals who suffer a denial can be successful on an appeal. In fact, statistics show that, despite only 22% being successful on the initial application, the final acceptance is just under 50%. This means that a majority of appeals are granted.
The second and next most important thing is to contact a lawyer right away. But after receiving a denial, you really should contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in NYC like one of ours. This is because, if you hire a lawyer that is not experienced in Social Security law and your appeal is denied, it is a much harder road to recovering benefits. Essentially, the stakes are higher now that there has been a denial and you will really need to obtain knowledgeable legal counsel.
For most states, there are four steps to appealing a SSDI denial. Those are reconsideration, Administrative Law Judge Hearing (ALJ), Appeals Council Review (ACR), and filing an application in federal court. However, New York has done away with the reconsideration phase in an effort to streamline the process and goes right to step two.
This is good for applicants because it allows them to appear in front of an ALJ at a hearing in person, present evidence, and answer questions. But there is a negative component, which is that there is one less step of review. This means there is one less chance of reversing a denial. This time period to appeal is 60 days from the denial. Filing an appeal outside those 60 days is a strong likelihood for a procedural denial.
When there has been a SSDI denial, in New York the first part of the appeals process is to request a hearing before an ALJ. This appeal allows a claimant to present evidence before an ALJ and even call witnesses. An ALJ will ask a lot of questions and may challenge your claims, medical records, or experts.
ALJs may give you a decision from the hearing, or at least give you an idea of what they will do before you leave, and then issue a written decision thereafter. Sometimes an ALJ will not give you an answer and issue a written decision later.
Many ALJs are very inquisitive, challenging, but caring individuals. It can feel intimidating to be in front of an ALJ, but know that these judges have a lot of experience in this field and often issue the right decision – especially when you have an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer helping you.
Although most ALJs do a good job, sometimes they get it wrong. If they deny your SSDI application again, you will need to go to step two in New York which is to appeal to the ACR. This is a larger panel of judges that handle appears nationally. This means that it can take a long time to get a response, but it is more likely to be accurate in terms of the law.
What is difficult about the ACR is that, although they could reverse the ALJ decision, they could also send it back. This can add more time before you get your benefits, which can please financial stress on a family.
If the SSA denied your claim, an ALJ denied your claim, and the ACR also affirmed the denial of your claim, your last option is to commence a legal action in federal court for benefits. This is a very difficult step to take because the presumptions of the administrative agency are heavily in favor of the SSA. Thus, it is imperative to have an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in NYC handle your claim before it gets to this last resort. Although it is not impossible to win in court, it is very difficult.
If your SSDI claim was denied, call our experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in NYC at O’Connor Law for help. We have a proven track record of success handling SSDI claims, including appeals from improper denials. To learn more about how we can help you, please call to schedule a FREE appointment by dialing (844) 692-6671 or by sending us a private message through our “Contact Us” box available here.