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Social Security Disability Appeals

Social Security Disability (SSD) is a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and intended to provide benefits to disabled workers. The SSA has strict qualification guidelines and has a rigorous application review process designed to prevent fraudulent claims from being approved. This leads to the initial denial of many legitimate claims and to many disabled workers’ being unable to get the benefits they deserve.

A denial, however, does not mean the end of the road. The Kentucky Social Security Disability appeals lawyers at the Frank Jenkins Law Office understand the challenges inherent in qualifying for benefits, and we know how to help you get the benefits you deserve. For more than 20 years, our experienced disability lawyers have represented people who were denied SSD benefits, guiding them through the appeals process and turning denials into approvals or settled claims.

Contact the experienced Kentucky SSD benefits lawyers at the Frank Jenkins Law Office today by calling toll free at 859-389-9344 or by using our online contact form. Your initial consultation is free, and we don’t receive a fee until we successfully obtain SSD benefits for you.

We have served disabled workers for over 20 years in Lexington and the surrounding communities of Berea, Georgetown, Nicholasville, Paris, Richmond, Versailles and Winchester, as well as all of Eastern Kentucky. Let our experience work for you.

The Social Security Disability Appeals Process

Although many Social Security disability claims are at first denied, the SSA provides several stages of appeal to help ensure that those who are legitimately disabled can receive the benefits they deserve. During any one of these stages, you have the opportunity to successfully argue why you should receive benefits.

In order to be successful in the appeals process, you will need to meet the SSA’s definition of being disabled, which includes having a covered disability that has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or longer. The definition of a covered disability is a narrow one, and you need substantial medical evidence to prove that your condition is covered. Our Kentucky disability lawyers can help to determine if your medical condition is covered and can assist you in gathering the evidence needed to win your appeal.

Each of the four stages of the appeals process is different and has different requirements, so it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as you receive an initial denial letter. Our Kentucky SSD benefits attorneys can guide you through the steps of appealing a rejection, including:

  • A request for reconsideration – This involves filing a request to have your case reviewed by a different disability claims examiner from the one who first reviewed your case. You must file a request for reconsideration within 60 days of the denial of your claim. If you do not file your request within 60 days, you will no longer be able to appeal and you will need to resubmit your application as if it were a new application. This can have a significant adverse impact on your right to back-pay benefits.

The request for reconsideration may seem like a simple matter of filing a form, but it is important to make sure that you have all the documentation in place to support your claim and to understand the reasons for your initial denial so you can do everything possible to correct any errors or omissions that led to the initial rejection.

Our experienced Kentucky disability lawyers can help you not only understand why your initial claim was denied, but we can also file the proper documentation and request for reconsideration on time and include any pertinent information that could help bolster your claim for benefits.

  • A disability review hearing / disability benefits hearing – The next stage in the appeals process is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). These hearings are held several times per year at designated locations. You may have to wait several months for a hearing.

The hearing will be conducted in front of a judge who is a part of the Social Security Administration, not a standard court. The judge is a neutral third party who is going to evaluate the application and the denial and make a decision on your case.

In order to persuade the judge that your denial of benefits was wrong, you will need to make a compelling argument and present solid medical evidence to support your claim. You can typically present evidence and witnesses at a disability review or disability benefits hearing. You should also remember that the SSA will have legal professionals representing its interests, and you, too, should have a legal advocate on your side at this hearing. Your lawyer can help you to understand what is involved in preparing for and presenting your case at the hearing and will help you to build a strong argument for why you should receive benefits.

  • Appeal to the SSA Administrative Appeals Council – If you are not happy with the results of your hearing, you can appeal to the appeals council and ask them to look at what the administrative law judge did. They will not review your case as if it were new, but will instead consider what was done before and assess whether any mistakes, errors or omissions were made in denying your claim for benefits under SSA rules.

It is absolutely imperative that you have a lawyer representing you by the time your case gets to this stage, since this is the last chance to have the SSA change its mind and approve your claim. There are also many legal nuances associated with appealing to an appeals council.

  • Suing in federal court – The final option is to appeal the denial in federal court. This is the first appeal that goes outside of the administrative appeals process and essentially involves your filing a lawsuit in federal court to get the SSA to reverse its denial or grant a new hearing. A federal judge is going to be very deferential to what the SSA did. He or she will reverse the decision or grant a new hearing only if you can show that there was some problem in the way the SSA handled your previous applications or appeals. 

If you hope to have success in federal court, you will need to have a legal professional on your side. The Social Security disability lawyers at the Frank Jenkins Law Office can handle your federal appeal and can assist you in this last, best effort to get Social Security disability benefits.

Get Help from Our Kentucky Disability Appeals Lawyers

For over 20 years, the Kentucky Social Security Disability lawyers at the Frank Jenkins Law Office have successfully helped disabled individuals obtain SSDI benefits. Your next step should be to contact us for a free case evaluation.

If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with appealing a denied disability claim, contact a Kentucky Social Security Disability lawyer today at 859-389-9344 or use our online contact form.