Feb 142013

Social Security Disability Denial AppealWere you recently denied Social Security Disability or SSI benefits at the first step in the process?

I never suggest that a person attend a judicial hearing without an attorney but sometimes, in rare cases, it makes sense to file the Request for Hearing (Appeal) on your own. This doesn’t mean you should proceed all the way to a hearing without a qualified disability attorney, however.

Below are some of the reasons you might want to file an appeal on your own and how you can file the Request for Hearing (Appeal).

What? An Disability Attorney is saying I should file a disability appeal on my own?

Not exactly. But…

…the 60 day appeal deadline should not be disregarded. Typically, if your claim was denied, you will receive a denial letter in the mail. It will usually have only one paragraph customized to your situation. Often times people are denied for health-related limitations that are insufficient to preclude work. Your letter may say something to that effect. The letter, like all Social Security denials, will explain your appeal rights. You have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to file a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

Sometimes a claimant is caught off-guard by the denial and: (1) hasn’t looked for an attorney to handle their appeal; (2) hasn’t found an attorney willing to take the appeal; or (3) is not comfortable with the attorneys willing to take the appeal. Instead of rushing into a relationship with an attorney you are not comfortable with, file your Request for Hearing timely and continue to look around. However, I recommend that you not delay too much because your attorney will want to begin assembling your case and preparing it for Social Security court early.

Although I only recommend this under very limited circumstances, you can begin your appeal on the Social Security Administration’s website here.