Appealing Your Disability Claim

Most initial claims for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are denied. But you have the right to appeal if you were denied because of failure to follow prescribed therapy or lack of medical evidence. At Fields Law Firm, we have experience handling Social Security Disability appeals, and we’re here to help prepare a strong appeal on your behalf.

If you have questions about filing your disability appeal, Social Security Disability attorneys are here to provide you with the answers you need. Just dial 1-888-343-5375 or fill out a free contact request form. You’re not alone if your SSD claim was denied – we understand, and we’re here to listen to your story.

The 4 Levels of Social Security Disability Appeals

If you choose to file an appeal, you have 60 days from the date you received your denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Once your appeal is filed, you will go through up to four levels of the SSD appeals process:

  1. Reconsideration
  2. An official from the SSA’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) who had no part in reviewing your initial application will review your disability claim, along with any new evidence.

  3. Hearing
  4. If you disagree with the DDS’ decision on your reconsideration, you can request a hearing. During your hearing, an Administrative Law Judge – or an ALJ – will question you about your disability claim. Your attorney will be present through this entire process.

  5. Appeals Council Review
  6. You may request that the SSA’s Appeals Council review your claim if the judge did not follow the law. If your request is granted, the Appeals Council will review your claim, or they will send it to an ALJ for further action.

  7. Federal Court Case
  8. Finally, if you are still unsatisfied with the decision after the Appeals Council’s review, your attorney can file a lawsuit in a Federal District Court.

Appealing your claim isn’t the only option you have if you were denied benefits. Other options may be available to you, such as filing a new social Security Disability application with new evidence or reopening your claim.

Disability Appeal Process

Applications for Social Security Disability Benefits are often denied. They can be appealed, however. There are several stages of an appeal, each with a different function. The main appeal stages are as follows:

Request for Reconsideration
If your application for Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplemental Security Income is denied, you can appeal. The first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. You must file this appeal within 60 days of the date on the denial letter.

After you complete the Request for Reconsideration, you must complete a Disability Report Appeal. This is similar to the Disability Report – Adult, which you completed with your application. It is different in that it asks if your conditions have changed or if you have any new conditions. It also asks if you have seen any doctors or have been treated at any clinics or hospitals since you filed the Disability Report – Adult.

At this stage of the appeals process, your file will be given to a disability examiner other than the one who originally denied your claim. That disability examiner will request updated medical records and review your claim for disability benefits. It usually takes about four or five months for Social Security to issue a decision on a Request for Reconsideration once it is received.

Request for Hearing
The next Social Security Disability Appeal is called a Request for Hearing. This appeal must also be filed within 60 days of the date on the last denial letter. The Request for Hearing works a little differently than the first appeal, though. At this stage of a Social Security Disability Appeal, it is your—or your attorney/representative’s—job to request updated medical records and submit those to Social Security. Also, the person who decides the case is an Administrative Law Judge.

At the hearing, the judge will ask your attorney or representative if all of the relevant medical records have been submitted, and if he or she has any objections. The judge will then ask the claimant questions about his or her conditions and daily activities. If you are a claimant at this stage, be mindful to explain to the judge all of your medical conditions and daily challenges. It may not be easy to discuss, but the only way help the judge fully understand whether you are disabled is to explain all of your conditions and how they affect your activities of daily living.

You may have a witness at the hearing, who can tell the judge what he or she has witnessed about your disabilities. You may also have a representative or attorney at the hearing, who can ask you questions, present evidence, and make arguments.

There will be a vocational expert at the hearing who will tell the judge what jobs your past earning records show. The judge will also ask this vocational expert if there are jobs for a person who has restrictions that may resemble yours.

There may also be a medical or psychological expert at this stage of an SSA Disability Appeal. The medical expert will tell the judge what your medical records show, and whether your conditions meet or equal a Listing of Impairment, which Social Security uses to determine if a person is disabled under their rules.

You will be notified by mail of the judge’s decision. You will receive a “Notice of Decision” from the hearing office. This may be as soon as two weeks, or as long as five months after your hearing.

Appeals Council
If a claim is denied at the Request for Hearing level, the next SSA Disability Appeal is to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will decide the case based on the records. They will not take any new testimony from you or other witnesses.

Federal District Court
The next—and usually last—Social Security Disability Appeal is to the Unites States District Court for your district. A Federal District Court Judge will decide if any laws were violated during your hearing.

We know it’s a confusing process, and it’s our job to lead you through it. When you’re disabled, give Fields Law a call to find out how we can help you get the disability benefits you need.



John Kelley
John Kelley
21:38 16 Oct 18
I was having issues with an insurance company and I hired fields law firm. The people there are amazing and always quick to answer questions even a couple times on the weekend. I worked with Blake amazing person and very informative on my case. I would highly recommend this firm to any of my friends.read more
Michael Frazier
Michael Frazier
23:58 10 Oct 18
I had the pleasure to work with Michael and Annie on my LTD case. When my claim was denied by the insurance carrier, Michael didn't hesitate to take them on with an appeal. He worked diligently on the appeal and ultimately won this for me. Mind you, this wasn't a huge case but he treated me like it was and as if I was the only case he was representing. He kept me abreast of vital information, it was clear that he knew his stuff and wasn't afraid to take on the big insurance company. Michael was much more than I ever expected given that our relationship was entirely remote, handled by telephone and email only. Not only is he a strong lawyer, he treated me with compassion and respect. I am beyond pleased with him and the Fields Law team. Michael cares about his clients and he gets the job done for them because he knows how impactful an injury can be to both a person's well-being and their financial security. I highly recommend Michael and Fields Law whether you are local to their Minnesota offices or out of state like myself.read more
Melanie Eason
Melanie Eason
20:12 29 Aug 18
Fields Law Firm is great. Patrick Kramer, my lawyer, is fantastic. He and his legal assistant Samantha K. have handled my case for several years. They have kept me informed every step of the way. They are both easy to contact. I have both of their phone numbers and email addresses and they respond promptly to any messages I leave. Without their help I would not have been able to get the disability company to fulfill their promises. It is a relief to leave all the dealings with the disability insurance company in their hands.read more
Jeannie Kerr
Jeannie Kerr
23:37 15 Sep 18
My experience with Merrick Williams of Fields Law Firm has been truly above and beyond satisfactory. His knowledge and professionalism have guided me through a very difficult time. He and his assistant Angela were readily available to answer any questions and address my concerns. I highly recommend him as an attorney and will use his services again if necessary in the future.read more
ebon jordan
ebon jordan
19:51 27 Sep 18
Field Law Firm was great my lawyer Zach Schmoll was more than I could ask for. He always kept me in the loop and explain everything perfectly, got back to me whenever I called less than 24 hrs and was a extremely nice guy. This guy is young and knows what he is doing so please don’t let the age fool you. I had a wonderful experience with Field Law and will refer anyone with legal matters to them.read more
Edward Johnson
Edward Johnson
23:11 31 Oct 18
I highly recommend Fields law Firm if you need some no nonsense attorneys to represent you. I was treated courteously and efficiently each and every time by Mike and his associates. They settled my Long Term Disability case in a timely fashion. and was pleased with the results. Thanks again Mike and Fields Law Firm. You are the best!read more
19:19 09 Nov 18
Fields Law Firm is simply the very best when it comes to representing you & fighting for your rights! They are a "10 Star" Law Firm hands down! Michael Kemmmitt & Sarah Christensen were simply outstanding to work with. They took over my long term disability case after I was being denied my benefits & gave me the moral support & law experience that I needed to win my case. They were supportive throughout my case & they will fight tooth & nail to assure your rights are not being denied. It is so rare to find a law firm that treats you like YOU are the most important person to them. I HIGHLY recommend Fields Law Firm. They are truly advocates for justice.read more
Ben Chadwick
Ben Chadwick
23:20 12 Nov 18
Michael and Samantha were always giving me updates in a very timely manner. They were very good at getting back with me if I had questions, and they didn't have the answer at the time of our discussion. They were very thorough in their handling of my case, and we received a positvie ruling due to their efficiency and expertise. Thank you very much Michael and Samantha, I appreciate all that you did to help me with my case. I would definitely refer people to you, as well as use you in the future. Benjamin Chadwick.read more
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