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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
The Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits lawyers of Marks & Harrison know how frustrating it can be when the Social Security Administration denies your claim for disability benefits. However, don’t give up hope. You can still fight for the benefits you deserve by filing an appeal. We will work closely with you to get through the appeals process.
Attorney Joanna L. Suyes, a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, leads our experienced and highly dedicated SSD benefits team. We know the important role that disability benefits play in our clients’ lives. You can count on us to work diligently and aggressively for you.
You must act immediately in order to preserve your right to appeal a denied SSD benefits claim. So, don’t wait to get started. Call or reach us online today and receive a free consultation about your case through our Richmond office or any of our eight other offices located throughout Virginia.
Why Was Your SSD Benefits Claim Denied?
To appeal your denied SSD benefits claim, you need to know the reason for the denial. You can start by looking at the letter you received from the Social Security Administration (SSA), or Notice of Disapproved Claim. The letter should state the reasons for the denial. You should bring this letter to your initial consultation with your SSD benefits attorney at Marks & Harrison.
In Virginia, the SSA reviews benefits applications in partnership with Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is a division of the state’s Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.
Common reasons why the SSA and DDS deny benefits claims are:
- You made a mistake on your application or left out information.
- You failed to provide enough medical evidence to support your claim, including medical records and information from your treating doctor.
- You failed to cooperate with requests for information, or you refused to undergo a consultative examination.
- You earn too much monthly income or lack enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
- Your income or assets exceed the SSA’s limits to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
- Your medical condition is not severe enough (meaning it has not lasted, or it is not expected to last, for at least 12 months or to result in death).
- Despite your medical condition, you can return to your past relevant work, or you can adjust to a different type of job.
Your lawyer from Marks & Harrison can review the Notice of Disapproved Claim that you received in the mail and determine why the SSA denied your claim. We can then discuss the strategy for appealing the denial.
How Do You Appeal a Denied SSD Benefits Claim in Virginia?
Pay attention to the denial date listed on the Notice of Disapproved Claim. You will have 60 days from that date to file a request for reconsideration, which is the first step you must take in the SSD appeals process in Virginia. (Virginia, unlike several other states, has not eliminated the reconsideration stage in the appeals process.) Marks & Harrison can help you to file this notice in a timely manner.
As you move forward with your SSD benefits claim appeal in Virginia, your case could go through four levels of appeal:
- Reconsideration – At this level, you can ask for a complete review of your claim by someone from DDS who played no role in the initial decision. You can also provide additional evidence and information to help the reviewer make a decision. Your lawyer can gather your medical records, obtain a statement from your doctor and other information that can help to establish your right to benefits.
- Hearing – If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge at the nearest Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Virginia. The hearing will give you the chance to present evidence, in person and talk with the judge face-to-face. You can also challenge any evidence against your claim. At this stage, your lawyer from Marks & Harrison can make a major difference for you. Your attorney can prepare you for questioning, question witnesses and present a strong closing argument for you.
- Appeals Council Review – If your claim continues to be denied, you can ask the SSA Appeals Council in Falls Church, Virginia, to review the administrative law judge’s decision. The Council may decide your case or send it back to the judge for further review. An appeal becomes highly technical at this level. Your attorney can research SSA regulations and case law and present a clear and convincing argument on your behalf.
- Judicial Review – If the SSA Appeals Council declines review of your case, or if you disagree with the Council’s decision, you can seek judicial review of your case by filing a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court. If necessary, you can appeal the District Court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. If you pursue your appeal to this stage, you will benefit significantly from working with a Marks & Harrison lawyer who has experience with handling cases in the complex federal court system.
At times, the SSD appeals process can seem confusing and frustrating. However, your attorney will work hard to move your appeal along as efficiently as possible, keep you regularly updated about your case’s progress and always answer your questions and address your concerns. Additionally, at Marks & Harrison, we will charge no fees for handling your appeal unless we secure benefits for you.
Our Richmond SSD Appeals Lawyers Are Ready to Help You
If the SSA denies your claim for SSD benefits, don’t give up hope or stop fighting. Get help from Marks & Harrison. We know how important these benefits are for you and your family. We will work hard for you, carefully navigate your claim through the appeals process and aggressively pursue the disability benefits that you deserve.
To learn more about SSD benefits appeals and the assistance we can provide, contact us today. We will review your case in a free consultation through one of our nine Virginia offices.