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Ledgerwood Law Group

Learn About the Chico Disability Claim Appeal Process for SSDI & SSI

More than two-thirds of people who file for Social Security disability benefits will have their first applicant denied. This can happen for any number of reasons – from the applicant’s failure to build a convincing case for their disability, to the preexisting attitude of the disability examiner assigned to the case.

About half of those denied for disability benefits will enter into the appeals process. Let’s take a look at the four levels of appeal and the likelihood of success you’ll have at each.

1. Request for Reconsideration of Initial Determination

Included with the letter denying your claim, you’ll find an overview of your medical condition and an explanation of your right to appeal. You are given 30 days from the date the notification was created to file for this type of appeal. Typically, reconsideration is requested by contacting the field office where you filed.

If you take this option, Disability Determination Services will give your claim a complete re-evaluation. Because no one who previously dealt with your claim is allowed to be involved in the review, your file will be assigned a new examiner and consulting physician.

Approximately 5% of claims are approved after reconsideration.

2. Hearing With an Administrative Law Judge

If your reconsideration is unsuccessful—and many are—you have 60 days from the date on the reconsideration denial to file for a hearing in disability court before an Administrative Law Judge. Though you aren’t legally obligated to have an attorney at any level in the appeal process, working with a skilled Chico disability attorney significantly improves your chances of a successful hearing. You must be present to answer questions about your condition and work history.

Nearly 70% of claims are approved at this level.

3. Appeals Council

It is very unlikely that you will win your case at this level; only 3% of claimants are successful with this type of appeal. The council randomly selects claims for review, and unless they find a blatant error it is highly likely your case will be dismissed. Usually, the primary reason for taking a claim before the council is to have tried every other option before filing for the fourth level of appeal.

4. Federal Court Review

In this last-resort option, the applicant sues Social Security in United States District Court. A federal judge, assigned to your case, examines your full exhibit file for mistakes and receives testimony from your treating physicians.

Though at least 33% of claimants are successful at this level, suing the SSA is expensive, draining, and time-consuming. Very few individuals take their claim to the fourth level of appeal.

Do you want help building a better application for Social Security disability benefits? Have you received a denial of benefits notification and want to learn more about your next step? Contact Ledgerwood Law Group by calling 888-761-7383 today. We offer a free case evaluation!

Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group