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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.

SETTLEMENTS AND RECOVERIES IN ALL CASES DEPEND ON SPECIFIC FACTUAL AND LEGAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE UNIQUE TO EACH CLIENT’S CASE. PAST CASE RESULTS ARE NOT A GUARANTEE OR PREDICTION OF SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES WHICH THE FIELDS LAW FIRM AND ITS LAWYERS MAY UNDERTAKE.

READ OUR CLIENT REVIEWS

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
Jeffrey
Jeffrey
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
Michael Rosa
Michael Rosa
00:01 01 Dec 18
Evan was absolutely fantastic. He was knowledgable, informative and patient. Evan Sanford and Fields law took my case when other lawyers pretty much told me to pound sand. The outcome was a substantial amount of money that will take the pressure off of me for years to come. I would absolutely recommend Fields law.read more
BOBBY jr
BOBBY jr
17:49 02 Dec 18
It is very difficult for the average disabled person to battle the disability insurance and Social Security disability industries. I was very sick, exhausted, and stressed out about being denied and told that I can work by someone who doesn't even know me! The paperwork was daunting and had to be filled out multiple times. I chose Field's Law Firm after finding them online. They took over my claims and handled all of the paperwork and appeals that were necessary. They even went to a hearing with me to the Social Security Judge. Field's also kept me in the loop every step of the way. This allowed me to focus more on myself and greatly reduced my financial anxiety. They don't get paid unless you get paid. You truly have nothing to lose and everything to gain! I am truly appreciative of Field's Law Firm!read more
Raphael Roe
Raphael Roe
00:35 04 Dec 18
I had the pleasure of working with Patrick Kramer for my LTD appeal. He walked me through the entire process and answered all my questions. Patrick called me anytime there was new information and went above and beyond what I expected. It was one of the most stress free processes I’ve had to deal with thanks to the team at Field’s! Thank you for all your hard work! -Michael Roe, Monroe, MIread more
Donna Williams
Donna Williams
19:07 06 Dec 18
My attorney, Blake Bauer and paralegal, Samantha Kurschner are wonderful. Whenever I need to speak with one of them, they are always available. If I have to leave a message, my call is promptly returned. They worked diligently on my case and won my LTD claim. I highly recommend Fields Law Firm.read more
Lori Anderson
Lori Anderson
20:33 04 Dec 18
Jodie has been a wonderful person and on top of my social security disability claim. The attorneys are great and very thorough with what they do. Would recommend Fielsd Law Firm to everyone. Thank you for everything you have done for me.
Todd Burge
Todd Burge
15:40 11 Dec 18
I worked with Attorney Hans Lodge on a large debt collection from a creditor. He was able to determine that there was a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and swiftly moved into legal action. This whole matter was completely and quickly resolved within a couple of months. This whole situation could not have turned out any better on my end. I highly recommend working with Hans or any of the attorneys at Fields Law Firm!read more
John Notaro
John Notaro
05:09 09 Jan 19
Fields law represented me with class and always had the answers I needed to know every step of the way. Patrick and Jodie always kept me informed when there were updates to my case with a phone call. I can't recommend Fields law enough. I know I couldn't have won my case without the hard work of their entire team. Thank you all and most importantly how you changed my life for the better.read more
Jeff Howe
Jeff Howe
07:06 20 Jan 19
I have used this law firm twice. Zach had my case and he truly cares about you as a person. Thanks fields for getting the best
Stacy Tietjen
Stacy Tietjen
19:39 22 Jan 19
My experience with Fields Law Firm has been amazing. The dedicated service and professionalism they have shown me is above and beyond. Especially Blake Bauer, he has kept me updated every step of the way. If it wasn't for him and his team, I would not have won my case. I will continue to use Fields Law firm for all my legal needs.read more
Max Power
Max Power
00:31 26 Jan 19
Fields Law Firm represented me in my long term disability and social security disability cases. My attorney was Michael Kemmit and I can't say enough good things about Michael.Michael did an outstanding job taking the time to really understand my disabilities and how they impacted my ability to work. He skillfully and successfully communicated this to my insurance company & social security while referencing supporting evidence in my medical records. Michael is very comforting, compassionate and easy to talk to. Michael and the staff at Fields Law were professional, courteous and responsive to all my questions throughout the entire process.I 100% wholeheartedly recommend Fields Law. I doubt you could find a better law firm to represent you.read more
Tanya Nash
Tanya Nash
00:32 31 Jan 19
Blake kept me informed every step of the way with my work comp case! He made sure I understood all of the information and always made me feel comfortable with what was happening! He helped me get a good settlement!
Jazzy J
Jazzy J
18:05 08 Feb 19
I have had the opportunity to be represented by Fields Law Firm. They provided me with excellent service. They responded promptly to all of my phone calls. My case was handled by Mark (attorney) and Angela (paralegal). I will definitely hire them again in the future if needed. Thanks again for your assistance and dedication. J. Johnsonread more
Brynda Bradford
Brynda Bradford
22:46 12 Feb 19
Working with Blake Bauer and Angela was a very positive experience they were very knowledgeable and exceeded my expectations. If you are looking for a law firm to help assist you with Long Term Disability or worker's compensation I recommend Fields Law Firm.read more
Michelle Trebtoske
Michelle Trebtoske
17:06 04 Mar 19
My lawyer, Blake Bauer, represented me very well in my long term disability law suit. He got me a settlement I was pleased with. He was respectful, courteous, understanding, very knowledgeable and professional. He was a great communicator.read more
kenya Howze
kenya Howze
23:20 04 Mar 19
I recently had a stroke and had to leave my job and had to go on short term Disability which turned into Long term disability and this was a challenge. It was so challenging dealing with Doctors then with LTD it seemed that they were always trying to find ways to stop my disability. So I went online and researched Attorneys for LTD cases and Fields had great reviews and I want to say this was the best decision ever Blake and Annie have been my dream team and I have not been the best client as far as being compliant I have had so many issues in the last mot from health to Money issues and they stayed on me never waivered. They were so patient and compassionate Annie's voice at times soothed me because I was so ready to give up its very stressful but they made me feel lighter like I wasn't alone and they made it happen they won my case. I am so fortunate to have found this law firm and have the super team of Blake and Annie you guys are my heroes you have saved the day in my case the year . Thank you so much for your patience and your guidance and I recommend this law firm to anyone having issues with there disability case, if I could go higher than 5 stars they definitely would get 10!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!read more
Dan Cartier
Dan Cartier
14:15 07 Mar 19
Let's be honest, nobody wants to need a lawyer or be put in the place where you have to search for one. And if that time comes, I hope you look to Fields Law for that! I was put in a bad spot with loosing my credit due to a companies mishandlement of my financial information. Not good, and this was a very big company. So my worries were who would be willing and capable to take on such a job. I searched and called and spent many hours trying to find that company. But when I was referred to Fields, my worries were gone! I was instantly connected with Blake my attorney, who assured me I was in the right place with the right people! The positive attitude from absolutely every person I worked with and the knowledge they possessed was awesome. They helped me understand everything in a way that I could get; since some of the terminology and process wasn't my strong point! My case was going to be a long one; and knowing this there was not a single point that I felt I wasn't in the loop. They were honest and fair to both sides and I would highly recommend them to anyone needing help! Thanks again Fields Law!read more
Boris Fortner
Boris Fortner
18:15 07 Mar 19
My experience with Fields Law Firm could not have been any better. They have kept me informed every step of the way. They fought to get me a win which is more than I was hoping for. I would recommend them to anyone who truly wants to win. I thank God for them. They have been a blessing to me and my family.read more
Jonathan Mannuzza
Jonathan Mannuzza
15:29 12 Mar 19
The reason I chose Fields Law Firm was twofold, I got to speak directly with an attorney that would be handling my case and their structure was fair and equitable. Throughout the whole ordeal, Zach and Angela both exhibited professionalism, honesty, integrity, were timely with follow up, and above all treated me like a human being that they cared about rather than just another case. Zach definitely worked hard on my behalf and I can’t thank him enough for getting an acceptable resolution so that I can move forward with my life.read more
Mona Selim
Mona Selim
16:42 22 Mar 19
Blake Bauer At the Fields Law Firm is an excellent attorney who has high integrity and excellent work ethics.Blake walked me through the process of my claim and gave me realistic timeline and potential outcomes. He advised me on how to proceed with my best interest in mind. He was happy returning my phone calls and never got tired of my questions and concerns. He was very supportive when I was down and understood my struggle and helped me to the best of his abilities as the law permits. He is very thoughtful, he would ask me how I am doing; he even called me to wish me a happy birthday🙏The entire staff at Fields Law Firm is very friendly and on top of things. They didn’t let anything go unaddressed. They helped me understand the paperwork process. They are very punctual and returned my calls very quickly with all the answers they could provide me.This was my first time working with any law firm and my experience with Field’s Law Firm, Blake Bauer, Samantha Kurschner and the staff was extremely pleasant during a tough time in my life. Thanks everyone, job well done.Mona S.read more
Shannon Warren
Shannon Warren
19:07 22 Mar 19
Fields Law Firm was a great company to work with. I had received a settlement offer for my LTD and I wasn't sure if I should take it or not and they helped me out with the whole process. Zachary was so amazing and kept me updated on everything going on. I would recommend them completely!read more
Taryn Grahek
Taryn Grahek
18:19 08 Apr 19
Highly recommend Fields law firm, they are a great help and walk you through the process. They are on top of keeping you updated and in the loop and they are very good with communication. All of my questions were always answered perfectly. Fantastic place!read more
Michelle Lim
Michelle Lim
17:30 12 Apr 19
Fields Law Firm did an excellent job with my disability case. They were always available for questions, had knowledgeable answers, and set my mind at ease many times during the process. Not only were they nice to work with, but my case turned out favorably. I would highly recommend their services.read more
Michelle Renspe
Michelle Renspe
17:45 12 Apr 19
Everyone at Fields Law Firm we're very friendly they always answered any questions i had. It was a long-haul but they never gave up on my case they fought for me till the end. Jody from fields Law Firm always kept me informed on what was going on she always answered any questions I had for her. I would definitely recommend this Law Firm to anybody needing help with either Social Security workman's comp or other things just take a minute and look them up you will love what you see.read more
Bentley Luo
Bentley Luo
19:28 22 Apr 19
Field Law Firm successfully helped me overturn the denial of the LTD case by the insurance company in the appeal process. I could not say enough great things about everyone I’ve interacted with at their Firm during this process. They literally took over the process from the first phone call and shielded me from the extreme stress dealing with the insurance company so I was able to continue to focus on my recovery. They exhibited great professionalism and care for their clients and has seamless coordination process in place working diligently to move the case forward. I would recommend Fields Law Firm to anyone who needs support in their pursuing LTD claim case.read more
Linda Jones
Linda Jones
14:02 16 May 19
I was at my absolute breaking point trying to work with my long term disability company. I have metastatic cancer and my long term disability company denied my claim. I, thankfully, was put it touch with Fields Law firm and they were amazing. I spoke with Blake Bauer and was tears. My frustration level was at my breaking point. He explained to me that he would take the torch from point on. They accepted my case, fought my insurance company and had their denial reversed. My experience has been amazing. I have not shed one tear since. I would HIGHLY recommend Fields Law!!!read more
David Strand
David Strand
17:18 24 May 19
I am absolutely thrilled about the service I received from Fields Law Firm.From start to finish, I was kept in the loop as to the status of my case. If action was required on my part, this was communicated clearly. My main point is: the process of applying for Social Security benefits is massive and daunting. Fields Law Firm made navigating the process a breeze. I never felt the need to worry about my case; the professional manner in which my case was handled was very reassuring. They were prompt, professional, and communicative throughout.I would recommend Fields Law Firm to anyone applying for disability, hands down.read more
chris smith
chris smith
23:15 28 May 19
One of my big concerns when researching for a group to help me with my short and long term insurance claims was if it was going to be an issue with a group that was not in my state of NY. It was not an issue at all. The Fields Law Group was so helpful right from start to finish of the claims. No matter who I was dealing within the group they exceeded my expectations repeatedly. Even when there was turnover of tasks within the group itself the preparation and execution of the change went flawlessly and communication lines were never dropped.I have already recommended Fields Law Group to people I thought they could help and will continue to do so. I don’t make recommendations lightly but I believe this group has really mastered their skills in both their legal knowledge and customer service. Thank you for being there to help people like myself that would have no place else to turn.read more
louise Jackson
louise Jackson
19:52 30 May 19
I am thankful for the wonderful service I received. Attorney Blake Bauer reviewed my case and fought hard for all of my concerns. He was attentive, honest, kept me informed and he would not allow my claim to be denied. All of the staff members were personable and professional. If you have a difficult case do not give up hope. Call the Fields Law Firm!read more
Dawn Schaller
Dawn Schaller
13:11 31 May 19
Blake Bauer helped us navigate a difficult situation with our credit reports being incorrect and with our previous mortgage company. Not only did he help us get the issues resolved, we also received compensation for damages to our credit. We are so pleased that Blake is there for the consumer and not "the man". Thank you to Blake and his team! Great job. We would recommend you to anyone who needs your guidance and expertise.read more
Darla Baker
Darla Baker
15:52 03 Jun 19
When helping my former foster daughter with her Social Security Disability appeal process, I found the staff at Fields Law Firm to be competent, thorough, respectful and patient. Throughout my daughter was treated with compassion and dignity. They were careful to be sure we understood every step of the process, and quickly responded to any questions we had. After having been denied benefits three times before, she was awarded benefits with the help of Mike and Jodi at Fields Law Firm.read more
Sarah Stevens
Sarah Stevens
12:11 06 Jun 19
I am extremely appreciative of the help Fields Law Firm provided to me. I was getting absolutely nowhere with my insurance benefit (that I had been paying for the policy for 15 years) and Fields was able to navigate the process for me, kept me informed along the way and secured my benefits!! Highly recommend their firm if need professional help!read more
Louie Lueras Jr.
Louie Lueras Jr.
19:46 10 Jun 19
Great Law firm! They have been extremely helpful with my case! Couldn’t ask for a better experience. Highly recommend to anyone! Mike communicated with me always!
Brandy Cantrell
Brandy Cantrell
19:37 13 Jun 19
Fields Law Firm deserves 10 stars! They have worked on my Ltd case for months! Zach, Samantha, and the entire team honestly care about you as a person. You aren't just a dollar sign to them. They treat you with compassion and respect. They keep you informed of each step of the process and give updates periodically. I recommend Fields Law Firm to Anyone needing representation within the scope of Law in which Fields Law Firm practices. Thank you so much Field's Law Firm for the excellent care, quality of service, and representation of my case!read more
Karen Blaser
Karen Blaser
18:13 30 Jun 19
Blake Bauer and his team wear amazing! I live in Georgia and called several law firms before I found Fields Law Firm on the Internet. As soon as I called, I knew this was the firm I was going with. Blake was responsive, knowledgeable, forthright and a pleasure to work with. I felt extremely confident with them handling my long-term disability case. Thank you Blake and Samantha for everything!read more
Mark Greathouse
Mark Greathouse
20:25 08 Jul 19
Fields Law Firm was engagement to represent us in a disability appeal case. From the initial contact with the firm addressing our preliminary questions and concerns the representatives were forthcoming and informative. Upon engaging the firm to represent our interest, a strategy was developed for our appeal with clear action items, milestones, and timelines. At no time did we ever feel as if we did not know the status of our case or what was happening.The firm was very clear about the information and items needed to support the case and communications were clear and supportive. The timeline and expectations for requests were clearly presented in layman's terms. Any concerns which arose during the execution of the appeal were dealt with quickly and effectively. We had a successful outcome to our case and I recommend the Fields Law Firm.read more
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