Wilkes-Barre Social Security Disability Lawyer
If you have become injured or ill and cannot return to work for at least one year, you may be eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Even when someone is eligible, there is a good chance the Social Security Administration (SSA) may deny their application. In fact, the SSA only approves approximately 40 percent of applications every year. While many people give up after receiving a denial, this doesn’t have to be the end of the process. It’s possible to appeal the SSA’s decision, but the process is not easy. A Wilkes-Barre Social Security disability lawyer will understand the process and help you navigate it if you’re unable to work.
SSDI Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for SSDI, you must have suffered a total disability, meaning that you must be unable to return to work for at least one year. You also must be unable to adjust to other work due to your condition. The SSA defines disability as a medical, psychological, or psychiatric impairment.
You also must have earned enough Social Security work credits. The amount of work credits you have will depend on your age and when you became disabled. To have enough work credits, you must have worked at least five of the last ten years before sustaining your disability.
Appealing an SSA Denial
Most people that apply for SSDI will have to appeal a denial after the first time they apply. The first step in the appeals process is to submit a request for reconsideration. After submitting this request, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) will conduct a full review of your application. A medical expert and examiner that had no part of your initial application will review your case. Approximately five to ten percent of all claims are approved at this point.
If your request for reconsideration is denied, you can take the appeals process one step further by requesting a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). This must be done within 60 days of receiving the denial notice after the request for reconsideration. Half of SSDI applicants are approved at this hearing.
If your application is denied at the disability hearing, you can then take your case to the Appeals Council. The Council doesn’t review every case and has the discretion to determine which cases they will reconsider. The Council typically only reviews cases that they believe involve a mistake made by the ALJ. When they do review a case, they only approve two to three percent of cases.
After exhausting these appeal levels, you can take your case to the federal court if you have still been denied. The federal court also has the discretion over which cases it reviews and they will not approve your application. Instead, if they find there was an error, they will send the application back to the SSA to reconsider it.
Let Our Pennsylvania SSDI Lawyers Help with Your Application
If you’ve been denied SSDI, it’s important that you don’t give up. At O’Donnell Law Offices, our Wilkes-Barre SSDI lawyers know how to navigate the complicated system and give you the best chance with your application. If necessary, we will also walk you through the appeals process, prepare you for your disability hearing, and help with every other step. If you’ve suffered a disability, call us today at 570-821-5717 for your free consultation.