When The Social Security Administration Says No: What You Need To Know

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your claim for benefits, or if you've received word that your benefits are going to be reduced or stopped, you have the right to appeal the decision. However, you only have 60 days to appeal the SSA's decision, so you need to learn about the appeals process. The SSA has an 800 number that you can call and ask for a fact sheet that explains the appeals process. 

Did You Need An Attorney?

You are not required to hire an attorney to appeal, but you must keep in mind that there is a large amount of money at stake. If you hire an attorney, the cost of legal help may be relatively insignificant and can be worth the cost if you have little knowledge or patience when it comes to working with government bureaucracy and complicated rules of Social Security. Hiring an attorney can help you make sure all necessary steps are taken to tip the scale in your favor. 

How Do You Find An Attorney?

You want to hire an attorney who is familiar with the ins and outs associated with the Social Security appeals process. You can do so by calling the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' representatives. They have a toll free number for those who need assistance. You can also seek out an attorney on your own, but make sure he or she understands the SSA appeal laws. 

How Long Does It Take?

Most appeals are resolved by filing a request for reconsideration. If that fails, you may end up in an administrative hearing before an administrative law judge employed by the SSA. At the hearing you are expected to present evidence supporting your case, and you can subpoena witnesses. If the appeals process includes an administrative hearing, you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. 

It takes about two to three months after the hearing to receive written notice of the judge's decision. If the decision is in your favor, you can most likely connect retroactive payments beginning from the date the you first filed your claim. If you are denied again, you can appeal for a second time, and if that does not work out in your favor, you can sue the SSA in federal court. 

Anytime you are denied SSA benefits, or your benefit amount is changing, and you disagree with the decision, you must understand the legalities that go along with the process. There are certain changes in your life that can affect your benefits, such as moving, an increase or decrease in income, getting married or divorced, having a child, and other life-changing events. For these reasons, it is a good idea to discuss your situation with an attorney who understands how the changes can affect your benefits and can help you through the appeals process. Contact a firm like Craig H Kline Law Office for more information.