Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is a time-consuming and complex process. Even after diligently and carefully submitting the essential information, these applications get frequently rejected. Only after the Social Security Disability (SSD) claim is denied applicant question, "Do I need a lawyer for my SSDI Appeal?" Therefore, it is strongly advisable to speak with an experienced SSD attorney before filing an SSD application to traverse the intricate procedure.
Virginia's highly skilled SSD lawyers at Kalfus & Nachman understand that nothing can be more upsetting than having your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits denied after a debilitating injury or medical condition. We diligently work on your side to help you build a compelling case and get the outcome you deserve.
Understanding SSDI Appeals Process in Virginia
Virginia has a 42% approval rate for first-time applicants, higher than the national average of 35%. Yet, most claimants have to go through one or more stages of the appeal process to get benefits. Generally, they have 60 days from the day of getting notice of the decision to file an appeal at any level. Here are the four levels of the appeal process, and the claimant must complete them in the listed sequence:
- Reconsideration Request: Claimants can submit a reconsideration appeal after an SSDI benefits application gets denied. They must request it within 60 days from the denial date of the disability application. The claim application gets evaluated by a new social security caseworker and may require additional information to support the claim.
- ALJ Hearing: The request for hearing is notably different from the reconsideration appeal as the disability examiner no longer handles the case. The claimant has the option to get it reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at a hearing office.
- Appeals Council Review: If the claim gets rejected by the administrative law judge, the claimant may request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council; the assigned reviewer evaluates the medical records and may change or reverse the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
- Federal Court Review: The claimant may bring a case in a federal district court if he disagrees with the decision of the Appeals Council or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case.
Regardless of the legitimacy of the disability, if the initial SSDI application submitted is not accurately filled or does not have enough proof to support the claim, the claim may be denied. It's essential to consult an attorney before filing your SSD claim, as doing it correctly the first time will result in faster approval. Having an expert lawyer on your side during the appeals process and administrative hearings significantly increases your chances of success. Even if you did not engage an attorney to assist you with your initial SSD application, it is not too late to employ one and benefit from their services.
How Can an SSDI Attorney help me in my appeal?
If you're thinking of appealing for denied social security disability benefits, you might be wondering whether you need a lawyer for the SSDI appeal process in Virginia. A competent legal representation at any stage during the appeal process can significantly improve the applicant's chance of getting the desired outcome. According to Martindale-Nolo's 2017 study on disability, approx. 70% of applicants hired a disability lawyer to help with their appeal and more than doubled the chances of approval.
An experienced SSDI lawyer assists clients at every step of the process, from gathering the necessary documents, medical records, and personal information, to verifying your condition and accurately applying to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Below are the several ways qualified disability attorneys can help:
- Assist in obtaining medical records, employment documents, and other proof: - Lawyers examine whether your medical condition meets the criteria for a disability specified in the Social Security Bluebook. They also assist in obtaining disability proof even if your medical condition does not fall into one of the categories. After reviewing the case for additional checks, the attorney makes sure that no irrelevant evidence gets submitted in the application.
- Communicating with physicians and other medical providers: SSD attorneys can professionally address the concerns of reluctant physicians or medical providers. They will explain the Social Security Disability claim process and request opinion statements supporting the claim.
- Plans strategy to increase the chances of getting approved: SSD lawyers can analyze and draft legal documents summarizing your case under Social Security Regulations and state laws. They may even succeed in getting a claim approved "on the record."
- Handling bad facts: An experienced disability lawyer may minimize the adverse effects of any bad fact information that might harm the case, such as the doctor's opinion or if the applicant failed to follow a treatment plan consistently.
- Prepares the clients for cross-examination: A skilled attorney can clarify the testimony and assist clients with questions an administrative law judge may ask.
- Review the situation for other legal claims arising out of your disability: A lawyer can examine your case to discover if you have additional legal claims arising out of your disability, such as personal injury, workers comp claim, tort claim, and others.
- Helps the applicant and the witnesses prepare for trial: With skills, knowledge, and expertise in the field, disability lawyers can help the applicant and the witness prepare for the court trial. They are familiar with the arguments required to win your case and may help you receive all the entitled benefits.
Virginia's Top-Rated Social Security Disability Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman
Kalfus & Nachman's expert SSD attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the Social Security Administration and can help you navigate through the complex SSD application and appeals process with ease. For decades we have successfully served SSDI claimants in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Virginia Beach, or Roanoke, and throughout Virginia to help them win benefits for a wide range of disabilities.
If you or a loved one need a lawyer for filing your SSDI appeal or an application in Virginia, we will tenaciously fight to recover the benefits you deserve. Call us for a free consultation today at 855-880-8163.