Have you recently received a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA)? We understand the frustration and anxiety our clients experience when facing financial difficulty, disability and denial. However, we encourage you to stay positive and contact a Phoenix Social Security disability lawyer right away. A high percentage of disability claims that were originally denied at the outset are eventually approved with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Phoenix Social Security disability lawyer.
Filing for Disability in Arizona: The Basic Process
The disability benefits process is generally managed by the federal SSA. However, there are some state-specific components to consider particularly with regard to appeals. At the outset of your case, your initial application is sent to and handled by the Arizona Department of Economic Security through its Disability Determination Services office (DDS). During this step, DDS agents will review your entire application for completeness and eligibility. You will then receive a notification from DDS detailing whether you are considered medically disabled or not.
If you receive an initial letter from DDS denying your eligibility for disability benefits, you can then pursue the first step in the appeals process: reconsideration. A reconsideration is essentially a second review of the same exact claim you submitted in the first round. You will resend your application materials to DDS, and a different set of agents will either affirm or deny your medical disability. Keep in mind that there is a 60-day deadline to apply for a reconsideration, so be sure to contact a Social Security disability law firm as soon as you receive your denial. According to statistics, approximately 30 percent of disability claims are approved by DDS at the initial level, and another 11 percent are approved following an application for reconsideration.
If your reconsideration is denied, do not fret; there are still three more steps in the appeals process. The next step is known as the hearing stage and involves testifying before an administrative law judge (ALJ) about the details of your medical limitations, restrictions and inability to work. The administrative law hearing is less formal than a traditional civil proceeding in a courtroom. However, you should still arrive prepared to give thorough and accurate testimony about your disability experience. Fortunately, DDS reports that approximately 63 percent of cases presented to an ALJ are successful.
If you are unsuccessful following your administrative law hearing, you can appeal to the next level known as the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council conducts a paper review of your case, and you are generally not permitted to submit additional information unless your medical condition has changed. Once the Appeals Council has rendered its decision, you have exhausted your appellate remedies under the Social Security Administration & DDS umbrella. However, there is still one more step.
If you and your Social Security disability attorney agree that your claim is undoubtedly valid and you wish to continue the fight for disability benefits, you can commence an individual lawsuit in federal District Court. As your Phoenix Social Security disability lawyer will explain, you will have to determine whether the cost and time commitment of a federal lawsuit will make it prohibitive to pursue this course of action. Either way, your Social Security disability lawyer will remain committed to your case from start to finish.
Contact a Phoenix Social Security Disability Lawyer Today
If you would like to discuss the appeals process in Arizona or you are unsure how to continue with your Social Security disability case, we encourage you contact a Phoenix Social Security disability attorney right away. To speak with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer, contact Schiffman Law Office, P.C. by calling (602) 235-0539.