women in fort worth/dallas texas that needs to hire a lawyer to know about the disability appeals process
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By Carey Thompson
Founding Attorney

Navigating the complexities of disability benefits after an initial denial can leave you seeking clarity about what lies ahead. In this discussion, we’ll explore the various stages of the disability appeals process, offering valuable insights into what you can expect and how to proceed effectively. Understanding these stages is essential for making informed decisions as you work towards securing the support you deserve.

What Happens When Your Disability Claim Is Initially Denied?

The initial denial of a disability claim is often disheartening. It’s a moment when many individuals find themselves facing unexpected hurdles on the path to receiving the crucial benefits they need. At this stage, the Social Security Administration (SSA) typically reviews your application and medical evidence, making a determination on your eligibility. Common reasons for denials include insufficient medical documentation, incomplete paperwork, or failure to meet specific criteria. While it can be frustrating, it’s important not to lose hope. The initial denial is just the beginning of the disability appeals process, providing an opportunity to gather additional evidence and present a stronger case for your claim.

Request for Reconsideration

After the initial denial of your disability claim, the next step is to request a reconsideration. This stage involves asking the SSA to review your case once more. It’s vital to understand that reconsideration is often a continuation of the initial review process, with a different SSA examiner assessing your claim. To improve your chances of success, gather additional medical evidence, address any issues identified in the initial denial, and provide clear and compelling reasons for reconsideration. While this stage can be challenging, it’s an important part of the disability appeals process.

Administrative Law Judge Hearing

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing is a critical juncture in the disability appeals process. If your claim is denied at the initial stages and after reconsideration, you have the right to request a hearing before an ALJ. This hearing typically takes place in a formal setting, and it provides an opportunity to present your case in person. Having legal representation at this stage can be immensely beneficial, as ALJ hearings can be complex.

During the hearing, the ALJ will assess your medical condition, your ability to work, and your credibility as a claimant. You’ll have the chance to provide additional evidence, call witnesses, and answer questions. The ALJ’s decision is often the turning point in many disability cases, and a favorable ruling can lead to the approval of your disability benefits.

Appeals Council Review

The Appeals Council review is the next step if your disability claim is denied after the ALJ hearing. This stage involves a thorough review of the ALJ’s decision, and the Appeals Council may choose to either affirm the decision, remand your case back to the ALJ for further review, or overturn the ALJ’s decision in your favor. It’s essential to remember that the Appeals Council is not another opportunity to present your case; rather, it focuses on ensuring proper legal procedures were followed during your hearing. The process can be lengthy, but patience is key as you navigate the disability appeals process.

Federal Court Appeal

The Federal Court Appeal represents the final recourse in the disability appeals process. If your claim is denied at previous stages, and the Appeals Council upholds the denial or declines to review your case, you can file a lawsuit in federal court. This involves presenting your case to a federal judge who will assess whether the Social Security Administration made a legal error in denying your claim. 

How Our Fort Worth/Dallas Attorney Can Help with Your Disability Appeal

At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, we’re committed to guiding you through the intricacies of the disability appeals process. We understand the challenges you face and will work to build a compelling case on your behalf. We believe that everyone deserves access to the benefits they’re entitled to, and we’re here to advocate for your rights. Don’t hesitate to reach out for personalized assistance—contact us today, and let’s work together to secure the support you need.

About the Author
Carey Thompson has been practicing Social Security Disability Law Since 2008 after he graduated from Texas Wesleyan School of Law, now known as Texas A&M school of Law in Fort Worth, TX.  While at Texas Wesleyan he served on Law Review.  Prior to going to Law School, Mr. Thompson was a High School Band Director for four years using his degree in Music Education from Michigan State University.  Prior to Attending Michigan State, he attended Aledo Schools from Kindergarten to graduate.  Mr.Thompson feels strongly about serving the people of Tarrant County.