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Moving Your Claim Through the Pennsylvania SSDI Appeals Process

Posted D. Joseph Chapman on Oct 02, 2013 in Social Security Disability

Start with the assumption that your SSDI claim will be denied

Most people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits will have their claims denied. Year after year, about two-thirds of all applicants face an initial rejection.

Now, there are some things you can do from the outset to beat the odds. Some people will hire a disability benefits attorney even before applying, just to get the security of knowing that the application has been filled out correctly and all required documentation has been submitted. That’s not a bad idea: applicants who are represented by legal counsel have the best chance of getting a satisfactory result. However, it’s still no guarantee that the Social Security Administration will send out an acceptance notice.

So if you are applying for disability benefits, you should begin planning from Day One that you may have to deal with the SSDI appeals process in Pennsylvania.

The appeal process begins with a hearing before an administrative law judge

Legal guidance, however, can be critical throughout the appeals process. Without support and advice from a Social Security attorney in Harrisburg, you will be at a serious disadvantage. You won’t know what the most common errors people make are when appealing their denied claims. You won’t know the best way to frame your case to earn approval from the judge who will consider your appeal. You don’t even know what to expect when testifying before an administrative law judge.

That’s right: the next stage requires appearing in front of a judge. After you receive your notice that your claim has been denied, you have only 60 days to appeal the decision and demand a hearing. After that, you wait. The backlog of SSDI appeals cases is so long that often it takes over a year before a judge is free to hear your case. During that time, your Pennsylvania SSDI appeals lawyer can help prepare you for courtroom testimony. If you haven’t hired a lawyer, you will have to prepare yourself as best as you can.

Don’t give up

Even if the judge rules against you, you still have options. In many cases, a disabled person can ask the Social Security Appeals Council to reconsider the judge’s unfavorable decision. For success at this level, your attorney will want to provide the Appeals Council with legal reasons why the judge’s decision was invalid or unfair under Social Security statute or precedent law.

If the Social Security Appeals Council rules against you, there is the ultimate recourse of filing a lawsuit in federal District Court, where your legal rights can be pursued all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Getting justice for your case can be enormously complicated. It can easily demand legal experience that you don’t have and can’t acquire while your case is pending. Our experience has been that most clients who retain legal counsel and persist in their claim will eventually get the SSDI benefits they have been denied. Don’t give up as long as you believe you deserve the SSDI benefits you have earned.

When you’re ready to see what the disability attorneys of Schmidt Kramer can do on your behalf, give us a call at 888-476-0807. We offer all new clients a FREE, confidential interview with an attorney. If you hire us, we don’t get paid until your claim is approved; if we can’t get you money, then you owe us nothing.