Have You Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
Do not give up. If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, you are not alone. The majority of initial applications are denied. It does not mean that you are not eligible. It simply means that, when the Social Security Administration (SSA) representative reviewed your case, either he or she missed something or something was missing.
For more than 40 years, the lawyers at the law offices of Smolich & Smolich have been helping people like you throughout Northern California overcome denials. Let us help you obtain the Social Security Disability benefits you and your family need.
The Reason for Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
Your initial application must clearly indicate your disability and inability to maintain full-time employment for a minimum period of 12 months. A doctor's note saying that you are "disabled" or "cannot return to work" is far from sufficient. The SSA is looking for very specific information about your medical condition and how it impacts your ability to work full-time.
Typically, you must prove that you cannot perform any of the jobs you have done in the last 15 years, or any other job in the national economy. If they do not see that within the small amount of time that they have to review your case, you will be denied. Our attorneys know medical and vocational information is needed for SSA to award your claim. We will determine why you were denied and put together a strategy to obtain benefits through the appeals process.
The First Stage of the Appeals Process:
Request for Reconsideration
The first stage of the appeals process is a request for reconsideration. We will thoroughly prepare this request as soon as possible and submit your appeal electronically, in order to expedite the process.
At this appeal level, someone else who did not make the first decision at the Social Security office will obtain your medical records, review your case and issue another decision. However, experience has taught us that even a well-prepared request for reconsideration may result in a denial.
If you receive a denial after filing a request for reconsideration, do not get discouraged. A denial at this level does not mean you are not disabled. We will help with the immediate steps that can be taken to continue your disability claim.
The Second Stage of the Appeals Process:
Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge
The next stage of the appeals process is a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Here, we have the ability to clearly convey the details of your disability to the SSA. This is often the stage at which we succeed in obtaining Social Security Disability benefits.
At this appeal level, a hearing will eventually be conducted by a judge who had no part in the original decision or the reconsideration. The judge will review your medical records, listen to you explain your medical condition and perhaps obtain testimony from a vocational or medical expert. Due to the complexities of the hearing process and legal issues that arise, it is imperative to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side.
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Sacramento and Northern California Disability Attorneys
To discuss your case with our Sacramento Social Security Disability appeal attorneys, call us at 800-443-1345 or send us an e-mail.