To begin a Social Security Claim, an individual must file an application with the Social Security Administration. Our staff will help in the preparation of that claim and explain the process in detail. It is important that the application is thoroughly completed with the appropriate information.
Unfortunately, an individual should expect that his or her application will be denied. This should not be discouraging as the vast majority of these claims are denied at the initial application. It is imperative that an individual who truly feels that he or she is disabled appeal this decision within sixty (60) days of the denial.
Request for Hearing
If an individual is denied, he or she is entitled to request a hearing before a Federal Administrative Law Judge. It is very important during this appeal that the individual’s medical records be thoroughly compiled and organized. They should be presented to the Administrative Law Judge in a clear and concise way, highlighting the appropriate Social Security regulations.
The hearing is the most crucial stage of the appeal process, but there is no need to be nervous or apprehensive about it. The Administrative Law Judge who presides over the hearing will take testimony under oath, but in an informal manner. This is a private hearing usually held in a small hearing room with only the Judge, the hearing assistant, the claimant’s attorney, and the claimant attending.
All the medical records that have been submitted will be admitted into evidence and the testimony of the claimant will be taken concerning the alleged conditions and limitations the individual may have in the work place. Occasionally, the Judge may call in a “vocational expert” to testify about the possibility of training an individual for a different job.
It is important that the Administrative Law Judge be given a clear picture of not only an individual’s diagnosis, but also of the limitations he or she is suffering with. The Administrative Law Judge will understand that in certain cases, an individual may be able to suffer through one day of work, but would not be able to hold down employment five days per week.
The Administrative Law Judge will not announce a decision at the hearing. A written decision will be sent, usually within four (4) to six (6) weeks. If the decision is favorable, the claimant will normally begin receiving benefits after a short period. If the decision is not favorable, an appeal to the Appeals Council must be filed within sixty (60) days.