Appeal, appeal, appeal.
The number-one mistake claimants make is failing to appeal in a timely manner. A couple key things to keep in mind.
First, there is a time limit to appeal. You only have sixty (60) days from the date on the denial to appeal. Second, the actual filing of an appeal is not as complicated or time-consuming as you may be dreading. Gathering and submitting the evidence to support the claim is more time consuming than filing the actual appeal paperwork with Social Security.
Second, it is better to appeal a denial than to start a new claim. Statistically, most disability claims that are denied are not appealed. Most claimants either (1) give up on the process, or (2) file an appeal too late (more than 60 days after the denial), or (3) file a new claim or application from the beginning. Each case is unique; however, filing a brand new claim is usually a mistake.
A failure to file a timely appeal or filing a brand new claim have the same end result: a loss of appeal rights and the need to start over at the very beginning with a new Social Security Disability or SSI application.
Appealing Has the Best Chance at Winning
Generally speaking, a claimant is better off appealing a denial than starting over and filing a new application. Filing a new application tends to be a waste of valuable time. New applications for disability will likely be denied for the same reasons as the initial application. In any event, missing an appeal deadline or starting a new application instead of appealing are situations that should be avoided because they waste a significant amount of time.[Note: If you missed your appeal deadline and you do not have a good reason for missing the deadline, then you may have to start over with a new application for disability.]
Summary of What to Do After a Denial
- Determine the root cause of why your case was denied.
- Educate yourself about what a denial means.
- Consider hiring an experienced disability lawyer to assist you in appealing the denial. Learn the “pros and cons” of hiring a disability lawyer.
- Contact your local Social Security district office (or your attorney) and request an appeal.
- Learn more about denials and appeals.
How Do I Appeal The Denial Of Social Security Benefits?
There are many ways you can appeal:
- First, you can contact Social Security by calling 1-800-772-1213 and tell the representative that you want to file an appeal. They will send you the proper appeal paperwork. However, it is still up to you to file the appeal paperwork with Social Security within the sixty-day time limit.
- Second, you can file an appeal online at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/iAppeals/ap001.jsp. Click on the button that says, “Start a New Appeal” and you are on your way.
- Third, you can go down to your local Social Security office and file the appeal in person.
- Fourth, you can call an attorney like me to assist you, and guide you through the appeal process. I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the appeal process. Call us at (850) 898-9904, or fill out the contact form.
How Long Does an Appeal For Social Security Disability or SSI Take?
I just received a denial letter on my application for Social Security disability benefits. It is titled a Notice of Decision. I am unable to work at a full-time job and intend to appeal the denial.
The short answer is that there is no set time limit to process an appeal and there is no way to know exactly how long a disability appeal in a Social Security disability claim will take. This is so for several reasons.
First, disability cases do not have deadlines.
That being said, the Social Security district office will often say that it may take 90-120 days to process an initial application. In Pensacola, Florida, Requests for Reconsideration (the first appeal) typically take 30-120 days to process. If the Request for Recon is denied and a Request for Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge is filed, it typically takes 13 months for the hearing to actually take place.
Second, all cases are different.
A claimant’s impairments and medical evidence are unique. Some conditions are easy to classify as disabling, while others take longer.
Third, it depends on who is reviewing your case.
Sometimes a case is assigned to a DDS claims examiner or Administrative Law Judge who takes longer to process claims than others. Your claim may be assigned to a claims examiner or ALJ who has three hundred cases to process, or your claim could be assigned to an examiner or judge who only has seventy-five claims to process. In short, the time to process your case may come down “the luck of the draw”.
Fourth, most states require that claimants who want to appeal must first file a Request for Reconsideration with the state disability determination agency before having a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
You must file a Request for Reconsideration in Florida and Alabama.
If you live in one of the states that do not require the reconsideration step, you can file a Request for Hearing within 60 days of receiving an initial denial or Notice of Determination.
Reconsideration requests are typically completed in thirty (30) to ninety (90) days in the Pensacola, Florida area, and hearings before Judges are usually set about ten to fifteen months after a hearing is requested.
Click here to learn more about the Social Security Disability Appeal process.
Work with an Experienced Florida Social Security Disability Lawyer
Every case is unique, so I encourage you to give us a call to discuss your individual case. The Ortiz Law Firm represents Social Security Disability claimants in Northwest Florida and Southwest Alabama. If you’d like to speak to an experienced Social Security Disability attorney contact us at (866) 853-7703 to schedule a consultation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access Social Security Disability benefits and how to move forward with the process.