Very few applications for Social Security benefits are granted at the initial application stage. Rather, most must go through one or more appeals before being approved. Recent data suggests that only about one third of initial applications are granted, meaning that there is about a two-thirds chance that you will have to appeal this denial in order to receive benefits. In many cases, the appeals process can be a complex and drawn-out ordeal involving many layers of review by different decision makers. It can also be quite lengthy, lasting months or even years,
depending upon how many times your application is reviewed. That said, you are encouraged to contact a Ronkonkoma SSI disability attorney as soon as possible to get help with your appeal.
Below, we will walk through each step of the Social Security benefits appeals process in New York.
First Review: Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
If your initial application is denied, you may request a hearing by an ALJ who will then review your application. Although you and your attorney are not required to appear at this hearing, the Social Security Administration (SSA) strongly encourages it. At the hearing, you may argue your case by presenting new evidence and witnesses, while the ALJ may ask other medical professionals to testify or request that you undergo additional medical tests. If the ALJ determines that you do not qualify for benefits, then you may proceed to appeal his or her decision.
Second Review: SSA Appeals Council
The next step in the appeals process is to request that your case be reviewed by the SSA’s Appeals Council, which is an internal appeals body that reviews ALJ decisions to determine whether they committed errors. If the Appeals Council grants your request for review, it can then either decide on your claim itself or send it back to the ALJ for additional review. If the Appeals Council denies your claim or dismisses your appeal, you may then appeal to a federal district court.
Third Review: Federal District Court
The final step of the SSI appeals process is to file a civil action against the SSA in federal district court. At this stage, your attorney and the SSA’s attorneys will file legal briefs explaining their positions and may even appear for an oral argument if the court requests that they do so. The court will then review the briefs and oral arguments to determine whether the administration made any errors and issue a final ruling. If the court determines that there was error, it will send your case back to the SSA and order it to hold a new hearing.
Contact a Ronkonkoma SSI Disability Attorney
Applying for SSI benefits can be a long and complex process, especially if you must appeal your case. If you want to maximize your chances of success, you may want to consider hiring an experienced attorney to guide you through this process and advocate on your behalf. To get started, contact a Ronkonkoma SSI disability attorney at Turley, Redmond and Rosasco by using our online form or by calling us at 631-582-3700.