Rochester Attorney Assists Clients in Appealing Social Security Disability Claims in New York
Guiding clients through the appeals process
As the founder of Donald R. Bleier Attorney at Law, I have years of experience helping clients file for Social Security Disability benefits, so I know that denials are common. If your initial claim is denied, you are entitled to multiple levels of appeal. If your condition is not listed as a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is extremely likely that at least one appeal will be required to secure benefits. With your permission, I can file appeals at multiple levels for you, including:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ) — In most states, reconsideration is the first level of appeal, but reconsideration at this level is not available in New York. So your first level of appeal is at a hearing before an administrative law judge. At this hearing, the ALJ and your attorney may question you as well as witnesses, medical professionals and vocational experts about your condition and the surrounding circumstances. Unfortunately, a request for a hearing often delays the process significantly: in 2010, a hearing request took an average of 426 days to process.
- Appeals council hearing — At this level, a panel hears your case. While the council looks at the facts surrounding your determination, it also looks for procedural and other types of legal errors the ALJ may have made.
- Appeal to federal court — The final appeal level is to a federal court. An appeal at this stage is rare but available if your claim has been denied at all lower levels. The court can uphold the denial, reverse and approve your benefits, or remand your application back to a lower level.
How long should I wait to file my appeal?
Many people become discouraged when their initial Social Security Disability claims are denied, but they need to understand that such denials are extremely common. And many make the mistake of waiting weeks, months or even years before seeking an attorney's help. If I could speak to each person who is denied benefits initially, I'd offer a single piece of advice: don't delay filing your appeal. Delays make it more difficult for you to prove your disability. As time passes, important evidence and records may be thrown away or lost. And witnesses may not fully remember the full extent of your limitations and their testimony may not accurately capture the severity of your injury. If you wait too long, you may actually forget that you filed initially. If you file a new application rather than an appeal, you may forfeit back benefits because you are assigned a new filing date that can cause your insured status to run out.
What if Social Security tries to stop the disability benefits I am already receiving?
While it is rare to receive a continuing disability review, it can result in the SSA stopping your disability benefits. If your benefit payments have been stopped, you have the right to appeal. Continuing disability appeals may be brought at all levels listed above but they must begin at the lowest reconsideration level. At the reconsideration level, your case file is reviewed by a staff member. If the staff member does not reverse the decision, you are entitled to a hearing with a hearing officer. If your decision still is not reversed, you may sequentially appeal to an ALJ hearing, appeals council hearing, and federal court.
Work with an experienced Social Security appeals attorney serving Rochester
As a lifelong resident of Rochester, I understand the challenges many hardworking people and their families face when an injury causes a disability. At Donald R. Bleier Attorney at Law, you are more than just a number: my commitment to a strong attorney-client relationship prompts you to be more forthcoming and perform better at hearings, resulting in a greater chance you'll get the benefits you need. You can call me for a free phone consultation at 585.563.9054 or schedule a consultation online.