Social Security Appeal Lawyers in California
Understanding the Social Security Claim and Appeal Process
Most initial claims are rejected. If you have been successful, you should not give up hope. There are several points in the process that allow you to appeal a denied claim.
- Initial Claim — This is your Application for benefits. If you have not yet filed an Application for Social Security disability benefits, contact our office for help in doing so. Most initial Social Security disability claims are rejected. Even if you have made mistakes on your initial claim, we can help. We can present new evidence in support your claim.
- Request for Reconsideration — The initial denial is called a Notice of Disapproval of Claim. The appeal to that first denial is called a Request for Reconsideration. You only have 65 calendar days from the mailing date to file that appeal with Social Security, otherwise the denial becomes final. Our firm can file the appeal on your behalf.
- Social Security Hearing — If the Request for Reconsideration is denied, the next step is called a Request for Hearing, where you ask for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Our firm will request this hearing on your behalf. Our firm will carefully prepare for this hearing by collecting medical records, developing a strategy and preparing you for the hearing. We prepare you for the hearing by familiarizing you with the process, meeting with you in person to discuss your testimony. At the hearing we can present additional medical evidence which documents your inability to work, and have you provide testimony to accurately describe your disability and the effect it has had on your life. The hearing itself will last 30-60 minutes, and is in front of a judge. It can feel intimidating. However, your attorney will be at your side the entire time. All you have to do is answer the judge’s questions truthfully. Having been fully prepared beforehand, you will be able to accurately describe your disability and the effect it has had on your life.
- Social Security Appeal — If your case loses in front of the ALJ, we may be able to appeal your case to the SSA Appeals Council, if appropriate, and if mutually agreed upon.
- Federal Court Appeal — If the Appeals Council rejects your appeal, Rockwell, Kelly & Duarte, LLP, can take your case to federal district court if appropriate and mutually agreed to.
- Completing the Appeals Process Correctly — Some people try going in alone, without legal representation. This is generally a bad idea, because they usually end up repeating the mistakes they made on their original claim. Our experienced Social Security disability lawyers, Sharon Kelly and Jeffrey Duarte, can make a difference in avoiding those mistakes.
Our Social Security attorneys Sharon Kelly and Jeffrey Duarte are skilled in gathering medical evidence and developing the record to win your case. We offer responsive and personalized service to win the benefits you deserve.
Helping you to understand what it takes to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance, which is known as “SSDI,” pays monthly disability benefits to those who meet the medical qualifications and have worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years (earning 40 income credits).
In general, in order to qualify for SSDI an injured worker must prove the following:
- Be off work for more than a year or expect to be off greater than a year;
- Have a severe physical or mental disability;
- Meet a “Listing,” which is a predetermined definition of a disability; or
- Prove you cannot do your past work; and
- Prove that you cannot do any other type of work.
Proving you are disabled requires medical evidence which details what activities you are capable of performing. It is not enough to be injured, be in pain, be on medications, or even have a surgery. The medical evidence must describe your problems in terms that meet Social Security’s definitions and requirements. Help from either a treating or consulting doctor is absolutely required.
Speak with our disability appeal attorneys in Modesto, CA
Call Rockwell, Kelly & Duarte at 209.521.2552or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our Modesto Social Security Disability lawyers skillfully guide you through the appeals process. With more than 50 years of combined legal experience, we work hard to get you the benefits you deserve.