Losing Your Social Security Disability Hearing

by Editorial Board on March 4, 2011 · 0 comments

in Filing Initial Application,Social Security Hearings,Appealing a SS Decision,Why People Are Denied

If your application for benefits was denied after your hearing, don’t lose hope!  The judge does not have the final say in your case, and just because one judge decided you aren’t disabled doesn’t mean you can’t win if you keep trying.

If a judge denied your case you should generally appeal your case to the Appeals Council in Falls Church, Virginia.  There is no cost for filing the appeal.  It is done by mail and any written arguments and additional evidence you submit as part of your appeal must also be mailed.  Instructions on how to appeal are included along with the judge’s decision.  The appeal form is Social Security Form HA-501-U5 and is available through Social Security’s website (ssa.gov).

The Appeals Council will review the judge’s decision and may listen to the audio recording of the hearing.  You can obtain a copy of your file and the audio recording by submitting a written request to the Appeals Council along with your appeal.

If you didn’t have a disability attorney before, it’s a good idea to find one to help you deal with the Appeals Council.  Making an effective argument to the Appeals Council requires good familiarity with the disability rules and regulations and good legal writing skills.  The Appeals Council will determine whether the judge followed the rules and regulations, whether the decision is consistent with the medical evidence, or whether there is new and important evidence that was not available to the judge.

If you lost your disability hearing you should also file a new application for disability benefits.  This means starting all over again from square one, but it gives you a second bite at the apple while you are fighting your case at the Appeals Council.  If you go to a hearing for your second application the odds are very low you will have the same judge, and sometimes getting the right judge makes the difference between winning and losing your claim.

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