Houston TX Disability Attorney – Appealing a Denial of Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance is meant to protect qualified Houston and Texas residents, and, therefore, individuals should be able to rely on the SSA when the unexpected occurs, such as a debilitating injury or illness. Unfortunately, the SSA denies an average of 65 percent of initial applications, and when applying for Social Security disability benefits, many applicants expect and plan for a denial.

Social Security Disability Claim

If the SSA denied your application, the next step is to file an appeal, and a Houston social security disability attorney will be fundamental during this process. At Herren Law, we have helped many Houston residents successfully appeal their denial of benefits. If you’re unable to work because of your disability, you shouldn’t have to wait for your benefits. Get the legal help you need to file a strong and effective appeal by contacting Herren Law in Houston today!

First Steps After Receiving Your Denial

Getting a denial for your Social Security disability benefits can be devastating. However, it is important to clearly read through the denial notice that the SSA sends; on the denial notice, you will find important information for filing an appeal. In general, you have 60 days from the date that you received the notice to file your appeal. Therefore, Texas residents need to appeal the denial of benefits as soon as possible.

The appeal process has four levels, including:

  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge
  • Review by the Appeals Council
  • Federal Court review

The first step to your appeal is the “Reconsideration” level. To begin the appeal, you’ll need to complete a Request for Reconsideration, Form SSA-561. You can also start your appeal online through the Social Security website.

The Appeals Process

Reconsideration — Once you file the reconsideration paperwork, someone who was not involved with your initial application will conduct a complete review of your documentation. They will consider both the original evidence and any new evidence regarding your disability.

Hearing by an administrative law judge — If the SSA makes an unfavorable reconsideration decision, you can then ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). You may be able to provide additional evidence to support your case at this point, and, at the hearing itself, the ALJ will question you as well as any witnesses you bring. In some cases, the hearing can be conducted via video conferencing.

Review by the Appeals Council — If you don’t agree with the hearing decision, the next level is a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council. This council will review all documentation as well as the processes involved with the previous reconsideration and the hearing. The Council may deny a request if it believes the ALJ made the right decision; otherwise, the Council will decide the case itself or send the case to an ALJ for further review.

Federal Court review — If you disagree with the Council, or the Council refuses to review your case, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court.

Get Expert Legal Representation With Herren Law

As you can imagine, the appeal process for SSA benefits is very complex and it can take months, even years. By having a disability benefits attorney at your side, the SSA will work with your attorney just as it would work with you. Furthermore, with years of experience helping Houston residents with their appeals, we at Herren Law can spot mistakes or unsatisfactory documentation in the initial application or the denial. We will diligently work to make sure you have all the necessary materials for a strong appeal. During the hearings, we will aggressively and professionally represent your case.

For a free consultation regarding your appeal, call our Houston office today at (713) 682-8194.