The Social Security Administration denies a large number of initial claims, but even if your claim is denied, there is still hope.
There are ways to overcome a Social Security denial.
Chihak & Associates has an extensive record of success obtaining disability benefits for people throughout the Puget Sound area. We work with clients at all stages of the process — from preparing the initial application to appeals in the federal court system.
If your claim has been denied, our firm can represent you. We understand the appeals system, and how to get a Social Security claim approved.
Call us toll free at (888) 723-4141 to schedule a free consultation about a Social Security denial.
Success in Social Security Denial Cases
The Social Security Administration denies a large number of initial claims, but even if your claim is denied, there is still hope. There are ways to overcome a Social Security denial.
Many claims for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits are denied upon the initial application. For this reason, it is important to work with an attorney as early in the process as possible. Even if your initial claim was denied however, you may still be able to obtain benefits.
Initial review of claim
Social Security employees, doctors and vocational experts will review your claim to see if your disability or illness qualifies you for benefits. If your claim is denied, you have 60 days to file a Request for Reconsideration.
Request for Reconsideration
Social Security employees, doctors and vocational experts will again review your claim to see if your disability or illness qualifies you for benefits. Social Security statistics show that in Washington state, 89% of claimants are denied at the reconsideration stage of the appeal process.
Claims that are denied at reconsideration are appealed to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, by filing a Request for Hearing. This must be done within 60 days of receiving the reconsideration denial. When the hearing is scheduled, a vocational expert is almost always called as a witness, and frequently a medical expert will be called. The administrative law judge (ALJ) will have read the medical evidence before the hearing and the ALJ will listen to the claimant’s testimony. Then the ALJ will ask questions of the medical expert regarding the claimant’s diagnoses and limitations. After the medical expert has testified, the ALJ will ask questions of the vocational expert and obtain a summary of the claimant’s past work experience over the last 15 years. The ALJ will ask the vocational expert what jobs would be available to the claimant under a particular set of restrictions. That question, usually referred to as a “hypothetical,” will be fairly detailed. After the vocational expert has answered, the ALJ may inquire about additional hypotheticals. Depending on the mental and physical restrictions that the ALJ actually finds apply in the case, the ALJ may allow benefits, deny benefits, or decide that the person became more restricted at a certain point, and allow benefits only back to that point.
If your claim is denied at this stage, you have 60 days to seek a review by the Appeals Council.
Review by Appeals Council
If the decision is unfavorable or partially favorable, claimants have the option of filing a new claim, appealing to the Appeals Council, or both. The claimant has 60 days from the receipt of the decision to file a Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order.
If the Appeals Council denies the claim, an appeal must be filed in U.S. District Court.
Chihak & Associates welcomes referrals from other attorneys.