Many legal processes can be complex and applying for Social Security benefits is no different. Understandably, it can be frustrating when you apply for benefits and legitimately believe you are entitled to them but nevertheless have your application denied. If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder if and when to pursue an appeal. You may also wonder what it takes for such an appeal to succeed. These are legitimate and important questions, and at London Eligibility, we’re here to help you find the answers.
Should You Represent Yourself?
First and foremost, it should be said that in order to increase your chances of success in pursuing an appeal, you should not represent yourself. Why is this? There are a few reasons, including:
- 1). You don’t know what you don’t know. That may sound obvious, but it’s true. Lawyers who practice Social Security law often have years of experience representing countless clients as they pursue their initial claims and throughout the appeals process. A knowledgeable and experienced Social Security lawyer will understand the finer points of the law that can often make a big difference. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to assert your rights fully, and an attorney can help ensure that you do just that.
- 2). You usually won’t save money by representing yourself. Often people decide to represent themselves because they think they will save money. While this may be the case in some rare instances, more often than not, it isn’t. In fact, you may actually lose out on money you would otherwise be entitled to because you overlook an essential aspect of the legal process. An attorney familiar with the law can review your unique circumstances and ensure you pursue the appropriate amount you deserve.
Regardless of whether you hire an attorney or choose to represent yourself, you should also be aware of the various stages of the appeals process and how to increase your chances of success at each step.
A Closer Look at The Appeals Process
Submitting a Written Request for Reconsideration
The first part of the process is filing a written request for reconsideration. It’s important to remember to take this step promptly. In fact, the Social Security Administration usually only allows 60 days in which to make this written request. If you delay, you may lose your right to an appeal entirely.
Along with your request for reconsideration, you will need to submit medical evidence to support your claim. While the Social Security Administration will already have some of your medical records by the time you are pursuing an appeal, it is important to remember that if you have been denied, they have likely already reviewed those medical records and found them lacking in some way. Therefore, obtaining additional new medical records that can bolster your position and support your argument for benefits will be helpful and vital.
Requesting a Hearing
Along with filing a request for reconsideration, you will also need to request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. As is the case with the request for reconsideration, you will typically have 60 days to do so. Again, it is important not to delay, or you might forgo your opportunity to appeal entirely. Typically, a request for a hearing with an ALJ can be made through the Social Security Administration’s website, by phone, or by printing the necessary forms and taking them to your local Social Security office.
After you request and receive a hearing date, it is also essential that you prepare adequately for the hearing. Often, decisions are made by an ALJ based on the hearing, so you will certainly want to put your best foot forward. As with many other aspects of the process, having an attorney to guide you through preparation for the hearing can be extremely helpful. You will want to consider what questions might be asked, what testimony you want to give, and whatever evidence you want to present.
Deciding Whether to Continue the Appeals Process
After the ALJ has reviewed your case, you will typically receive a written decision within a few months. At that point, you can decide whether you want to accept the decision or pursue your appeal further to the Appeals Council. That process will be similar in terms of gathering medical evidence, preparing testimony, and presenting your evidence in the best possible light. As with all other aspects of the process, a knowledgeable and experienced attorney should be able to best help you prepare for and pursue that appeal.
London Eligibility – Here for You
At London Eligibility, our knowledgeable and experienced team of Social Security attorneys understands every aspect of the process of seeking benefits from the initial application throughout the final appeal. We are here to walk you through that process and guide you along the way. If you’re ready to get started, there’s no time like now. Visit our website at https://www.londoneligibility.com/, or give us a call today – we look forward to speaking with you soon.