Denied Social Security Disability or SSI Application
Don’t give up! You can still appeal!
It’s very frustrating when you know you cannot work but the government still denies your case. The process to appeal can be long and tedious, but success is possible. The unfortunate reality is that most people who apply are initially denied. The dedicated disability lawyers at Rosenstein & Howard have the experience needed to fight to have your claim reconsidered.
If you go to hearing before a Social Security judge and you subsequently get a written decision from that judge denying your appeal, please know that the case doesn’t have to be over at that point in time. You can file an appeal of the Social Security or administrative law judge’s decision. You do that by filing a form that goes to the Appeals Council in Leesburg, VA. Your case then is electronically transferred to the Appeals Council in Leesburg, VA for review. Now keep in mind, when you decide to do this, the Appeals Council has an extremely low rate of reversal. That is because the standard analysis for overturning a judge’s decision is very high. It requires that there be clear evidence that the judge made an incorrect decision or procedural mistake. Usually judges are pretty careful about crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s and making sure they can support their denial with enough medical evidence and counter any arguments that you may have. It is hard to get an outright reversal. That said, the Appeals Council will often send a case back on remand and what that means that they will review it and see that some errors were made or there is something, an omission, something that is lacking in the file and they will have the case returned to the same judge at the same hearing office for a new hearing. It is not uncommon for the Appeals Council in their order of remand to request that a medical expert now attend this hearing or that there be further vocational expert testimony to clarify certain issues.
Another thing that frequently happens when a case is either reversed or more commonly remanded is that the Appeals Council disagrees with the way that the judge handled the testimony or the narrative or the medical questionnaire of your treating source. That is because the Social Security Administration is required to give your treating medical source great if not controlling evidentiary weight and so if you have a treating doctor or psychiatrist who says very clearly, in a very detailed manner the reasons that contribute to your unemployability and the judge simply ignores that statement even though it is supported by medical evidence the judge may just ignore it or give it little weight. Often the Appeals Council will send that case back down for further analysis on whether the treating source’s opinion was correct. So if the judge does deny your case and you have supporting evidence from treating specialists or psychiatrists that are in contrast to his denial, he or she is going to have to give very good reason for why they are rejecting the source statement from your medical provider.
There are pros and cons with an appeal of the judge’s denial. The obvious pro is that you hang on to your original alleged onset date and therefore you keep the case alive and you can keep the full amount of back pay if at a subsequent stage benefits are awarded. You also maintain jurisdiction that even if the Appeals Council denies that case, you can still go forward and file your final appeal with the Federal District Court of Appeals. If you don’t file an appeal with the Appeals Council your case will die. Please know that you have to file their appeal within sixty days from the date the denial on the judge’s decision. Finally, the disadvantage of filing an appeal before the Appeals Council is that it is a very long wait, yet again, for a decision to be made. Right now, the average waiting time in Connecticut is three hundred and forty-five days for a person to find out if the Appeals Council is going to reverse or remand their case back down for a new hearing. Sometimes I unfortunately have cases where the clients say they definitely disagree with the judge’s decision but I need my money right away so I am going to just drop the whole case and I am going to refile all over again at the local district office. You need to understand that if you choose that route you will not be able to maintain jurisdiction to go up to the federal district court at a later date and you will waive your right to all the back pay that you had been waiting for on the previous case.
If you can’t work but the government is denying your disability claim, contact one of our experienced Connecticut disability attorneys today.