Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is an arduous task. Despite their efforts in completing the application, many applicants are often denied approval. Though certainly disappointing and unfortunate, a denial does not mean your chance for collecting Social Security Disability benefits is over.
If your claim has been denied or you disagree with another of the Social Security Administration’s decisions regarding your benefits, reach out to a Spartanburg, SC, Social Security Disability appeals lawyer from Pilzer Klein. Our firm handles only Social Security Disability cases, and your experienced attorney will work to get you the decision and benefits you need.
Approval and Denial Rates for Social Security Disability Benefits
It is more common for Social Security Disability (SSD) applicants to receive an “initial decision” of disapproval than approval for benefits. The SSA’s strict eligibility requirements and fraud protection measures make initial approvals challenging.
For the most recent decade of data collection, the SSA shows, on average, a 20% approval rate and a 67% denial rate. Decisions remained pending for 13% of applications. Of the denials, on average, 25% were based on medical factors and 40% on technical factors.
If your medical condition does not meet the SSA’s criteria for disabled, you will receive a medical denial. According to their criteria, your condition is a disability only if it:
- Has lasted or is expected to last at least a year or will lead to your death
- This prevents you from working and earning a sustainable living
If you sustained broken bones in a car accident, the SSA might determine your injuries will heal within a year and deny benefits.
Technical denials are those issued for non-medical reasons. For example, you may not have earned enough work credits over your years of employment to collect SSD, or you may not have worked recently enough. If you are employed, you may earn too much to warrant benefits. Sometimes technical denials are issued if the SSA cannot reach you after you submit your application.
If you did not partner with a Social Security Disability appeals lawyer in Spartanburg, SC, when preparing your application, contact an attorney from Pilzer Klein immediately after receiving your rejection letter. When it comes to appealing decisions, time is of the essence.
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How the Appeals Process Works
The appeals process comprises four potential levels and applies not just to unfavorable SSD decisions but to other SSA rulings you disagree with.
You can complete requests for appeal online, print out the required forms, and fax or bring them to your local Social Security office. The approach most likely to bring a favorable outcome, however, is to partner with a Spartanburg SC Social Security disability appeals attorney. With extensive experience and knowledge of the SSD system, your attorney will manage your appeal efficiently and effectively.
Upon a rejection, your first course of action is to ask the SSA to reconsider your application. During a reconsideration, an examiner and medical personnel from South Carolina Disability Determination Services (DDS), who were not involved in the first review of an initial decision for your application, will review your application with “fresh eyes.”
You have the opportunity to provide additional evidence for your claim. The guidance of a Spartanburg Social Security disability appeals attorney is critical at this time. Your attorney will help you gather important medical information or highlight evidence the first reviewers may have overlooked.
Hearing Before a Judge
If reconsideration does not produce a positive outcome, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). The judge will evaluate the evidence provided, and listen to your testimony and testimonies from witnesses. Your attorney will offer you and your witnesses crucial hearing preparation.
An Appeals Council Review
If the ALJ’s decision is unfavorable, the next level of appeal is to the SSA’s Appeals Council.
Members of the Council will review the judge’s determination as well as all submitted evidence and any additional information you have to add.
The Appeal’s Council can decide to maintain, modify, or overturn the ALJ’s decision or issue an order for a new hearing altogether. On average, Appeals Councils render a decision about a year after receiving the appeal.
The Federal Court
The final level of appeal is the federal court. You can file your suit in the United States District Court. Should you get another unfavorable ruling, you can challenge it at the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
When the SSA sends the Appeals Council decision letter, that communication will include instructions about how to take your case to court. However, when facing any level of appeal, it is best to have a knowledgeable Social Security disability appeals attorney in Spartanburg, SC, manage your case.
Spartanburg Social Security Disability Appeals Lawyer Near Me864-235-0234
We Will Handle Your Appeal with Confidence and Compassion
Pilzer Klein only works with SSD clients. We know your struggle and how much you need your disability benefits. When you partner with us, you can rest assured that a Spartanburg, SC, Social Security Disability appeals lawyer will handle your case with compassion and mount your appeal with confidence and skill.
We look forward to hearing from you, working with you, and fighting for you.