Equipped To Handle Every Phase Of Your Social Security Appeal

Filing a successful Social Security Disability (SSD) application is a complicated process. Many claimants have their initial claim denied. At Huffman Butler & Mason, PLLC, we understand the intricacies of the law and the appeals process. We advocate on your behalf to achieve the best possible resolution of your claim.

If Your Initial Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied

In many cases, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your initial disability application. However, you have several opportunities to prove the merits of your claim. There are the four levels of the appeals process:

  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge
  • Review by the appeals council
  • Federal court review

If you disagree with the SSA's initial decision, you must appeal the decision in writing within 60 days of receiving your denial letter. For the purposes of calculating the deadlines, the SSA presumes that you receive notification within five business days of the date stated in the letter. If your claim was denied for medical reasons, you may request the appeal on the SSA's website.

Reconsideration Of Your Disability Claim

The first stage of appeal involves a complete reconsideration of your application along with any new evidence that you choose to submit. This time, the person at the SSA who is reviewing your file will be different from the person who initially denied it. You receive a decision on the reconsideration in writing.

Next Option: A Social Security Disability Court Hearing

You may next request that an administrative law judge conduct a court hearing to consider your SSD claim. Prior to the hearing date, the SSA may ask you to provide additional evidence and to clarify information about your claim.

During the hearing, the administrative law judge questions you and any witnesses about your claim. You are permitted to bring your own witnesses to support your case and should consider retaining SSD attorneys to represent you at the hearing. The SSA often asks medical or vocational experts to testify. You or your attorney is able to question them. Once the judge has considered all of the evidence, you receive another letter informing you of the decision.

Appeals Council

If you have still not received a favorable response to your disability application, you may request an additional review by the Social Security's Appeals Council. The Appeals Council considers all requests for review, but does not approve all hearing requests. The council may deny a request if it believes the administrative law judge got it right. If the Appeals Council grants a review for your case, it either decides your case itself or returns it to an administrative law judge for another hearing. In any event, you receive a letter from the SSA explaining the status of your claim. However, this may take some time. The current turnaround on this part of the process is several months to a year.

Federal Court Review

The final legal remedy is to pursue a lawsuit in federal court. This case proceeds like traditional civil litigation, including the filing of a complaint, conducting discovery and trying the case in court.

Qualified Legal Advice

Although the first three levels of appeal do not involve formal court proceedings, they do require in-depth knowledge of Social Security law, the ability to analyze complex medical documents and the skill to question expert witnesses. Your claim can benefit from the experience and knowledge of a Social Security law firm.

Call Our Lawyers Today For Help

Filing an SSD appeal can be a long and meticulous process. And it's in your best interests to have an experienced lawyer on your side. At Huffman Butler & Mason, PLLC, we understand the law and advocate tirelessly on your behalf. To discuss your case, call 901-410-0689 or book an appointment online. We have offices in Benton, Arkansas, and Covington, Tennessee, to more easily serve clients across the region.