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The more you know about the appeals process, the easier it will be when and if you have to face a denial. More knowledge will give you the ability to present your information in the best way possible. Do not worry if you are denied. A person has the right to appeal several times through the process.

Speak with a Social Security attorney serving Raleigh from our firm for the assistance you need! You will have the chance to learn your options and plan your strategies. At the Whitley Law Firm, we have offices located in Raleigh, Charlotte, Kinston, Jacksonville, Winston-Salem and New Bern; therefore, no matter where you live in the state we are prepared to assist you with your appeal.

Initial Application

It may take three to five months or more for the Social Security Administration to determine your disability case. After a Social Security representative reviews your claim, and all requirements have been met, your file will be sent to the state Disability Determination Services. They are in charge of the decision when it comes to whether or not you qualify for disability benefits under Social Security Administration standards.

The state may need further evidence when deciding your case. The state agency may seek more evidence to further develop your file. State agencies staff doctors and other specialists that will review medical records and collect any needed information from other medical facilities. You may be asked to see your doctor or another doctor for an examination.

Standards Used to Determine Disability

There is a five-step process that the Social Security Administration used to determine if someone is disabled. These factors include:

  • Are you working? If a person earns more than the amount that is specified by Social Security, they will not be considered disabled. This amount of money will increase each year. If you make less than the maximum allowed, your condition will be further analyzed at the state agency.
  • Is your condition severe enough to be considered a disability? Social Security will look at a person’s ability to perform even the most basic work tasks. There must be severe limitations caused by a person’s disabling condition. If your condition is found severe enough, your claim will advance.
  • Is your condition on the list of impairments? There are conditions that are severe enough to automatically be considered disabling. Your condition may or may not be on the list. If it is not on the list but is equal to or as severe, a person will be found disabled. If you are not on the list, the claim will go to step four of the claims process.
  • Are you able to do the same work you did before? If you can still maintain your previous work status, you will not be considered as having a disability. If you cannot perform your previous job tasks, your claim will go to step five.
  • Can you do other work? If a person is able to perform any other tasks based on work experience, education, and skills, they will not be considered disabled. If a person is not able to adjust to other work, they will be considered disabled.

Appeals Process

Rules for Blind Applicants

A person will receive a letter that gives the decision of acceptance or denial. If a person is found eligible, they will get information regarding payments. If you are denied, you have the right to appeal.

Appeals

Everyone has the right to appeal a disability claim. Appeals happen on many different levels. If your appeal is denied at one of the five steps, you can still move to the next.

Time Limits

There are time limits for appealing a decision. The time limit is generally 60 days to appeal a decision. Oftentimes, Social Security will assume that you received a decision five days after the date of that decision on the decision letter, but you do not want to wait until the 60th day to appeal the decision. The faster you can get the decision appealed, the faster Social Security will work on that appeal.

Asking for Reconsideration

A person who has never come in contact with your claim will look at all evidence including any new information. This step has been eliminated in many states.

Requesting a Hearing

You have the right to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. You may or may not be asked to provide more information. The judge along with any witnesses will question you if you have any.

Requesting a Review

If you are not happy with the administrative law judge’s decision, you may request a review from the Appeals Council. This will be based on the judge’s decision. Your request may be granted or denied. Your case will be reviewed by either the Appeals Council or another administrative law judge.

Petitioning a Review by the Federal Court

If you still end up with a denied appeal, you can then proceed to file a lawsuit in federal court. There is a time limit on which appeal can be filed. It is always an advantage to work with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. They can assist you every step of the way making the process less stressful and a lot smoother.

Contact Whitley Law Firm for Help Through the Process

It is not easy moving through the Social Security Disability process. It is very complicated and time consuming. Many people become overwhelmed or even give up when they are entitled to benefits. A Raleigh attorney can make you feel comfortable with the process and be with you every step of the way.