If you received a denial of your Social Security disability benefits claim, you might be wondering how to proceed. Some people make a mistake and assume that there is nothing left to do if their claim is denied. More often than not, Social Security disability applications are denied the first time around. If this happens to you, don’t give up. Instead, contact the Kentucky Social Security disability benefits attorneys at Gerling Law today.
Do I Have a Valid Social Security Disability Claim in Kentucky?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines the validity of your claim based on several criteria. First, they look at whether you are currently working. Then, they want to know how severe your condition is. Your disabling condition may be a mental or a physical one that keeps you from working your regular profession.
Next, the SSA looks at your condition to determine whether it meets the list of already approved conditions. Several examples of approved disabling conditions are:
- Musculoskeletal system problems: arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, spine conditions, fibromyalgia, amputations, etc.;
- Neurological disorders: Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, etc.;
- Digestive tract problems: hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s Disease, liver disease, etc.; and
- Mental disorders: autism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.
Once the SSA determines whether you have a qualified disability condition, they will consider whether you can perform the same work you once used to. If not, they will review your case to determine whether any other work is possible. Lastly, the SSA will decide whether you have enough work credits to qualify for benefits.
How Can I Fight My Denied Claim?
If the SSA denied your Social Security disability claim, there are opportunities to appeal that denial. First, you want to look at the reason for rejection. When the SSA is reviewing a claim for disability, a simple clerical error or lack of proper supporting documentation is enough to trigger a denial.
After receiving your denial, the first option is to file a request for consideration. This document asks the SSA to let a different claims examiner review your case. You can submit new evidence that was not available before or was inadvertently left out. This claims examiner had no input on your initial application.
If the new claims examiner doesn’t approve your claim, you can also request an in-person hearing. This hearing will take place in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ will ask questions during the hearing. You can also request that the judge subpoena important witnesses and allow you to present new evidence.
Your next option after a hearing with the ALJ is to ask for a review from the Social Security Appeals Council. They are not obligated to grant you a hearing, however. If you still don’t have any resolution, you will be forced to file a lawsuit in federal court.
Will a Lawyer Be Able to Help with My Case?
The sooner you retain a disability lawyer, the better your chances are of having your claim approved. Attorneys who specialize in Social Security disability claims understand what is required at each level of an appeal. At Gerling Law, we’ve been handling these types of cases for years. We are familiar with what documentation is needed, how the hearings work, and what is necessary if you exhaust all appeal options.
If you have already submitted your appeal, it’s not too late to hire our Kentucky disability lawyers. From the first appeal to a federal lawsuit, Gerling Law will be with you every step of the way. Retaining our firm from the start helps improve your chances of approval. If you are further along in the process, don’t let that dissuade you from contacting us, though.
For a claim for Social Security disability, we can gather medical evidence, speak with your medical providers, and obtain additional testing. Our job is to ensure you have enough supporting medical evidence to qualify under the SSA’s guidelines. We understand the SSA’s Blue Book, which is the medical guide used to evaluate disability claims. We can break down the difficult to understand portions and help improve your chances of approval.
Filing a Disability Claim Lawsuit
A disability claim lawsuit must be filed in federal court. This requires special skills and expertise. You don’t want to hire an attorney that doesn’t have experience trying cases in federal court.
When you file the complaint, you will not be suing the SSA directly. Instead, the defendant is the current Social Security Commissioner at the time of your lawsuit.
Once the SSA is served and has answered the complaint, you will need to file an opening brief. Your brief summarizes the events of the ALJ hearing and decision. You are asking the federal judge to reconsider and look at your evidence once again. The SSA then has the right to file its response brief. The court allows you one more chance to respond, which is called a reply brief.
In some cases, there may be oral arguments after both sides file their briefs. The federal judge will take everything under advisement and render their decision. Don’t expect an immediate response. In some cases, your court case may be pending for a year or more.
There are three ways a judge will rule. They could remand the case, which means sending it back to the ALJ for reconsideration. The federal judge could affirm the ALJ’s decision. And finally, they may reverse the ALJ’s decision if the federal court agrees with you.
Hire Gerling Law for an Experienced and Dedicated Team
Hiring the right Kentucky Social Security disability attorneys can make all the difference in your case. You could be approved during the request for reconsideration rather than enduring a lengthy court process. If you need assistance with a denied Social Security disability claim, contact Gerling Law.
You can call our office at 1-888-GERLING or complete our online case review form for a free, no-obligation initial consultation. Let us help get the disability benefits you deserve. Remember, Go with Experience. Go with Gerling.™