When it comes to filing for Social Security benefits, attention to detail is key. Any slight mistake or omission can result in a denial. That’s why it’s so important to hire a skilled and experienced Social Security attorney in Oregon to guide you through the intricate process of filing a disability claim. We can catch application pitfalls that usually result in a denial of benefits.
However, if you’re reading this, it’s probably too late for us to help with your application. The good news is we can still help you with your appeal. What follows are the details of the appeals process for Social Security disability benefits in Oregon. We’ll cover the timeline as well as important aspects to consider along the way.
Our experienced team at Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys at Law, has over 40 years of experience assisting Oregon residents with Social Security Disability claims. This includes every step of the appeals process. We’ve successfully navigated Social Security Disability hearings, which means our clients couldn’t ask for a more experienced ally. Let’s take a look at what that experience has taught us about the appeals process.
What to do if your Social Security Disability Claim is Denied
Firstly, know that you’re not alone. After years of diligently paying into the Social Security system, it’s disheartening to have your claim denied. Especially since disability benefits are meant as a safety net for those who are unable to work. Sadly, many valid claims are rejected, but it’s important to recognize that the problem isn’t necessarily you. Many first-time applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Social Security Insurance (SSI) are denied.
When you apply for SSD benefits, your application undergoes an initial examination at your local Social Security office. Their primary focus is to ensure you meet the fundamental eligibility requirements. They make sure you have a satisfactory work history for SSDI or a restricted income and resources for SSI. If you pass this stage, your application advances to the Disability Determination Services (DDS).
At the DDS, a specialized disability determination expert looks at your application. Their goal is to decide if your disability hinders your ability to earn a living. This involves a thorough examination of your medical records and any other information they decide is important.
Now, if this review results in a denial, you’ll be informed by letter. Here’s where the appeals process begins. The letter will include information about the next steps that are available to you, and it’s important to act quickly. The letter also includes your deadlines.
Important Next Steps in Social Security Disability Benefits Appeals
The Social Security Administration (SSA) clearly outlines the appeals process here. Still, for a personalized timeline specific to the details of your case, we recommend speaking with our legal team first. At Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys at Law, we can do everything to see to it that there will be no need for additional appeals steps. Nevertheless, here is the appeals process timeline in Oregon and what you need to know about how our Social Security attorneys can help.
The Oregon Social Security Disability Appeals Process
- Reconsideration: This is the initial step in the appeals process. If you believe the denial decision was made in error, you can request a complete review of your claim. Another medical consultant and examiner who wasn’t involved in the first decision will evaluate your application.
- Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If you are denied again, you can request a hearing with an ALJ. The ALJ will evaluate all available evidence, and you’ll have the opportunity to present new information as well as testify on your own behalf. Having a seasoned Social Security attorney by your side at this stage can significantly improve your chances. We’ll guide you on court etiquette and make sure all the information is presented fairly.
- Appeals Council Review: If the ALJ’s decision is another denial, the next step involves the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review your case. It will decide if the ALJ’s decision was legally sound, and if so, side with them. Our job, as your Social Security attorney team, will be to argue that the decision the ALJ arrived at was either unjust or based on incomplete information.
- Federal Court Review: As a final recourse, you can file a lawsuit in the federal district court. This step is generally reserved for claims with substantial grounds of being wrongly denied, even after all previous appeal avenues have been explored. Typically, appeals cases don’t get this far because we’ve solved the issues with our client’s application in the earlier steps.
Understanding the Reasons for Denial
Before diving into the appeals process, it’s essential to understand the reasons your Social Security disability claim was denied in the first place. The Social Security Administration (SSA) may reject claims for various reasons, such as lack of medical evidence, previous denials, or short-term disabilities. By understanding these reasons, you can address the specific issues in your appeal and increase your chances of approval.
Understanding the reasons for denial can guide us in gathering the necessary documentation, medical records, or evidence to support your claim during the appeal. Remember, the clearer you are about why your claim was rejected, the more targeted your approach can be when seeking an appeal.
Seek the Most Experienced Social Security Attorney in Oregon
At Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys at Law, we work hard for people who have been denied Social Security disability benefits in the Willamette Valley. Our Oregon workforce is the lifeblood of our state’s world-renowned assistance programs, and it’s important to us that you receive the full support you deserve.
If you are a worker who has been denied benefits in Oregon, call our exceptional team at (541) 434-6466 today. Let us handle the painful legalities while you focus on what comes next in your life.