Once you apply to the SSA for disability benefits, the SSA reviewer makes the initial determination of your claim. If you are not approved initially, you need to quickly appeal that denial at the next level of the process, which is the Reconsideration step.
If you are denied at reconsideration, do not give up hope. Most claims that are reconsidered are denied. It is almost like a weeding out process.
The Administrative Law Judge Hearing
After reconsideration, the next step to appeal a denied claim is to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ hearing is the first time you, as the claimant, have the chance to be heard in person before a judge. In the hearing, you and your attorney may present key evidence and may argue your case to the judge. Your attorney may cross examine any witnesses the ALJ may call forth to testify, including medical and vocational experts.
The hearing happens in a non-adversarial setting. There is no opposing attorney who will ask you hard questions. The ALJ is interested in learning the facts about your disability and will ask you questions under oath.
Your attorney will have done the important preparatory work of gathering and assembling all essential medical evidence, doctors’ reports, as well as prepared any witness who may testify on your behalf. 50% of all people that apply for a hearing ultimately receive a favorable decision from the SSA.
Fill out a free claim evaluation or call us at 1-800-277-0300 to get started.