Social Security Disability Appeals
Many people who live in New Hampshire suffer from disabilities that prevent them from working. Without a steady source of income, disabled people may struggle to make ends meet, and thus they may seek disability benefits from the federal Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, applications for disability benefits are frequently denied, and rejected applicants may feel reluctant to pursue the issue any further. In many instances, however, a denial of Social Security Disability benefits is unjust and may be overturned on appeal. At Stephen Law Group, our Manchester Social Security Disability lawyers can guide you through the Social Security Disability appeals process and fight for the benefits to which you are entitled.Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits requires a person to have a disability, as this term is defined by the SSA. In other words, the person must have a physical or mental impairment that stops him or her from working, and the impairment must have lasted or must be expected to last for a minimum of 12 months. The disability must be established via medical evidence, such as medical records or a doctor’s evaluation. The person generally must have previously worked for a minimum amount of time at a job in which he or she paid into the Social Security Trust Fund.Appealing a Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits in New Hampshire
If a New Hampshire resident’s application for disability benefits is denied, he or she can file an appeal. Previously, the Social Security Disability appeals process in New Hampshire contained three steps, but recent modifications added a fourth step. Thus, the process now potentially involves a request for reconsideration, an administrative law judge hearing, Appeals Council review, and litigation in a federal court.
The first step, a request for reconsideration, must be submitted in writing within 60 days of receiving the written notice of the initial determination. The SSA will then send the claimant a notice of its reconsideration determination. If the SSA denies the claim for benefits at the reconsideration level, the claimant can then request a hearing before an administrative law judge. A request for a hearing must be filed within 60 days of the reconsideration determination. Prior to the hearing, the claimant may submit additional evidence to the judge. In some instances, the judge may request that the claimant undergo a medical examination or tests prior to the hearing. During the hearing, the claimant may present evidence and ask witnesses, such as medical and vocational experts, to testify. After the hearing, the judge will send the claimant a copy of his or her decision.
If the hearing results in an unfavorable decision, the claimant can appeal once again by writing to the SSA and requesting Appeals Council review. This must be requested within 60 days of receiving the ALJ determination. The Appeals Council will consider new evidence only if the evidence is material, related to the relevant period, and reasonably likely to change the outcome of the claim. Ultimately, the Appeals Council will grant, dismiss, or deny a request for review. If the Appeals Council rules unfavorably or denies or dismisses a request for review, a claimant can file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. The lawsuit must be filed within 60 days of the notice of the Appeals Council’s decision. The court may remand the case to the ALJ for a new hearing, order the payment of benefits, or deny benefits.Speak with an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney in the Manchester Area
Many people with disabilities have a right to recover Social Security Disability benefits, but a substantial number of initial applications for benefits are denied without a proper justification. If your claim was denied, you should speak with an attorney regarding your options. The Social Security Disability lawyers at Stephen Law Group are experienced in navigating the complicated Social Security Disability appeals process. We frequently represent people in Social Security Disability claims in Manchester and in other cities in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. You can contact us via our form online or at 877-663-1007 to set up a meeting.