According to the Social Security Disability Administration (SSA), nearly 850,000 people filed a disability claim appeal in fiscal year 2012 to seek a hearing after being denied in initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The number is a slight decrease from the 2011 figures, when 859,514 people requested a hearing, but still higher than previous years.
The SSDI Process
There are five levels when it comes to applying for SSDI benefits:
- Application: This includes the initial documents you fill out with the SSA, which contain information about your health and claimed disability/disabilities. A representative with the Disability Determination Services (DDS) makes a decision on eligibility based on the documentation you provide. At this stage, about 33 percent of applications are approved.
- Reconsideration: If your initial application is denied, you have 60 days to file a reconsideration claim. At this stage, a representative with the SSA reviews your application. At this stage, about 88 percent of appeals are denied.
- Hearing: If your reconsideration claim is denied, you have 60 days to file a second appeal, which results in a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). Following a hearing in which evidence reviewed, an ALJ will determine if you are eligible for benefits. At this stage, about 58 percent of appeals are awarded to the SSDI applicant.
- Appeals Council: If an ALJ denies your claim, you have 60 days to appeal his or her decision and request a review by an Appeals Council. The Council will review your case and determine if any errors were made by the ALJ. At this stage, only 2 percent of appeals are awarded to the SSDI applicant.
- Federal Court: Less than 2 percent of applicants appeal their disability case to the Federal Court.
This process highlights the importance of having legal representation during an appeal. An experienced attorney will be able to point to errors that may have resulted in a denial. If you have questions about an application for disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys
Troutman Touts: You can seek legal counsel at any point during the SSDI process, including the initial application.