Did the Social Security Administration (SSA) recently deny your claim for disability benefits? If so, you will want to know why and – more importantly – what you can do to appeal the decision and secure the benefits that you need and deserve.
As you move forward, you should understand how the SSA evaluates disability claims. If you know what the SSA looks for in a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it will allow you to tackle issues that may have led to the initial denial of your claim. For instance, you may need to provide more evidence about your physical or mental impairment and how it limits your ability to work.
To learn more about how the SSA evaluates disability benefits claims and to discuss your case, contact Marks & Harrison today. Attorney Joanna L. Suyes, a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, would be glad to assist you along with our our highly experienced and dedicated SSD benefits team.
Established in 1911, our firm serves clients from our office in Richmond and from eight other offices located throughout Virginia. Call or reach us online today for a free consultation.
Whether you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must establish that you have a “disability” as the SSA defines that term. In other words, you must show that you suffer from a physical and/or mental impairment (or combination of impairments) that:
Your local SSA field office initially processes your application and checks whether you meet non-medical requirements. The SSA then sends your case to Virginia Disability Determination Services (DDS) to determine whether you are disabled. A DDS claims examiner will work with a medical consultant to evaluate your case. The SSA’s evaluation will consist of a five-step, sequential process:
The SSA applies this five-step evaluation process when it initially reviews your SSD benefits application and at every stage in the appeals process. So, you need to keep those five steps in mind as you pursue an appeal.
If you wish to appeal a denied SSD benefits claim in Virginia, the first step would be to request reconsideration of your claim by a different DDS evaluation team. If your claim is denied again, then you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). (In some states, an administrative law judge hearing serves as the first stage of appeal.) The next level of appeal would be to request review of your case by the SSA Appeals Council. If your claim is still not approved during the administrative appeals process, the next step would be to file a lawsuit in the nearest federal court.
At Marks & Harrison, we can assist you at any level in the appeals process. We will not charge for the services we provide unless we secure SSD benefits for you.
If the SSA denied your claim, and you appeal the decision, then you must check on whether you have provided the SSA with a complete picture of your medical condition and its effect on your ability to work. A lawyer from Marks & Harrison can help you by reviewing the information you provided in your initial application. If we identify any “gaps” in your information, we can help you to quickly address those issues as you pursue your appeal.
Our law firm will ensure that you provide comprehensive, accurate and relevant information about your medical condition to the SSA. We know that the more medical evidence you provide, the better your chances of approval will be. We will make sure to:
At Marks & Harrison, we understand the important role that disability benefits play in the lives of our clients in Richmond and throughout Virginia. Our skilled and experienced SSD benefits team will work tirelessly to pursue the benefits you are due, including providing the SSA with the information it needs to evaluate your claim. To get started, call or reach us online today and receive a free consultation about your case.