If a Judge Denies Disability Benefits, Can an Attorney Still Help?

By January 10, 2022 No Comments

Denial of disability benefits can be a frustrating situation, and the appeals process can be slow and difficult to understand. That’s why it’s important to contact an attorney immediately after your denial. A licensed attorney can help you with the next steps to get your benefits approved.

The Next Steps

After your initial application is rejected, there are a series of appeals that can be filed to try and get you your benefits. Those appeals are:


If you have submitted your application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have been denied, your next step is to request a reconsideration. A reconsideration is requesting a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the original determination. This is when an attorney can help change your odds.

Denials can occur for something as simple as an omission of information on the application. A lawyer can help you put together a reconsideration appeal with all the information you need to get approved. Generally, you have 60 days from the time you received notice of the initial denial to request a reconsideration, so it’s essential to act fast.

Administrative Law Judge

After a reconsideration has also been denied, it is time to appeal to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and request a disability hearing. This request will typically take six months to a year to process and schedule. Most people aren’t well-versed in the evidentiary practices an ALJ requires in a disability hearing, so your chances of success significantly improve if you have a lawyer.

The ALJ can approve your disability benefits, or they could deny you a third time. If you receive another denial, don’t lose hope. It is still possible that your next appeal will prove your disability.

The Appeals Council

The next step after a denial by the ALJ is to appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council reviews the decision made by the ALJ and looks for legal errors. If a mistake was made, your case is returned to the ALJ. This gives you another chance to present your case at a hearing.

This is an unlikely result, however. Over 90% of cases that make it to the Appeals Council are denied. That is why an attorney is so crucial at this juncture. If you are denied by the Appeals Council you can file a civil action in the U.S. District Court.


As you can see, a denial in your first DBI or SSI application can quickly become a complicated situation. Deadlines, requests, and appeals can be tricky to attempt to maneuver alone. That’s why you should call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law, at (541) 434-6466 as soon as your disability application is denied. We can help you present your best case, so your benefits are approved quickly.