Joe felt the Social Security Administration (Social Security) should give him SSDI disability benefits. But Social Security felt otherwise. He and his attorney decided to keep fighting, but their appeals were rejected at the first three levels of appeal. Fortunately, Joe’s attorney knew all about appealing an SSDI claim to the final level – federal district court. It’s important to understand how you (and Joe) get to this point.
The Stages of an Appeal
If Social Security denies your claim for SSDI benefits, you are not alone. Most years, Social Security denies more first-time claims than it approves. Just remember that you still have options.
You and your attorney first will file a request for reconsideration. This request means that you want someone who did not review your claim the first time to look it over. Your claim may be approved at this point, so you do not have to continue to the next stage involved in appealing an SSDI claim.
That second stage involves asking for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). At this point, the ALJ might send your claim back to Social Security for further review.
If you are denied again, you can ask Social Security’s Appeals Council to look over your application to see if Social Security staff made any mistakes.
The final stage involves appealing your SSDI claim to the federal district court. We strongly encourage you to have an attorney represent you from the beginning of your claim. However, you might have been doing everything yourself to this point. This stage typically will be too difficult to navigate with the assistance of a Social Security lawyer.
Appealing an SSDI Claim to Court
Up to this point in your journey, you have been involved with the Social Security Administration. This next step requires you to file a civil action with a United States District Court. The Clerk will assign your case to a judge.
You might then be required to file briefs and motions with the court. Of course, Social Security will respond to your filings, and you might have to file a reply to their response. Sound complicated? It is.
The District Court Judge might take one of the following actions regarding your SSDI claim:
- Remand the case for the administrative law judge to reconsider.
- Affirm the administrative law judge’s decision.
- Reverse the administrative law judge’s decision and, potentially, award benefits to you.
District Court judges do not usually award benefits directly to the claimant, but it can happen when you are appealing an SSDI all the way to the federal district court level.
Learn More About Appealing an SSDI Claim
The application process can be long and frustrating, especially when your request for benefits is denied. It really helps to have an experienced Social Security attorney on your side as you work toward getting the benefits you need.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.