How to Appeal a Medical Disability Decision

Legal Representation

1.

Retain an attorney specializing in disability law.

2.

Consult with your attorney specializing in disability law who can provide the necessary information and processes needed to fulfill all of Social Security's requirements for continuing a client's disability benefits.

3.

Hire an attorney working for contingency. This arrangement results in the attorney being paid only if the claim for continuing benefits is allowed.

Reconsideration

1.

Request a reconsideration of the decision through the Social Security claims officer assigned to the case file. Reconsideration will have the case file returned to a different disability examiner.

2.

Prepare to provide additional updated information that will be requested, and the entire history and current condition of the claimant will be reviewed.

3.

Request an appeals hearing if the reconsideration agrees with the original decision to terminate benefits.

Hearing And Appeals

1.

Request a hearing of appeal with the disability determination office. The hearing will be a meeting where all issues concerning the claimant's disability, medical history and ability to return to work will be examined.

2.

Prepare to travel to the appeals hearing location in your state. The appeals hearing may be local or at a distant location. Prepare to spend as much time as needed at the appeals hearing.

3.

Appeal the decision to the adjudicating law judge if the appeals hearing agrees with the initial continuing disability review and reconsideration and terminates benefits.

Adjudicating Law Judge

1.

Request an appeal to the adjudicating law judge (ALJ). The ALJ is a federal court where appeals are presented to a judge versed in Social Security disability regulations, listings and precedence with prior decisions. The ALJ can concur or override all previous decisions relating to the claimant's ability to work and decide to allow or deny.

2.

Prepare to spend three to nine months pursuing the appeals process. Each step--reconsideration, appeals hearing, ALJ--can take up to three months of more depending on the caseload. Attorneys familiar with the disability appeals process are able in many instances to expedite the appeals process by dealing directly with medical care providers, employers and Social Security with gathering documentation and disseminating information.

3.

Remember that all decisions related to Social Security Disability are legal, not medical decisions. A claimant's medical condition and ability to work are considered at each step of the appeals process. The decision, though, to allow or deny a claimant's benefits is based on Social Security law.

Granting Social Security Disability is a legal decision based on medical, education and vocational evidence. Persons applying for Social Security Disability are referred to as claimants. Claims are denied when a claimant's condition does not meet Social Security's criteria for disability. When denied, a claimant can appeal the decision. Appeal a Social Security disability decision by contacting the claim officer assigned to the care.