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The Social Security Disability Appeals Process in Massachusetts, Nationwide

April 27th, 2012

Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications are denied at first. Following an initial denial, a disabled person’s application will normally go through a process called reconsideration. During the reconsideration process, an applicant’s file will be reviewed once again by a different examiner. If the disabled person’s application is also denied at the reconsideration stage, the applicant has 60 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Winning a SSDI appeal depends on a number of factors. Because each administrative law judge approves a different percentage of claims, the judge who hears your case can have a significant impact on whether you win your appeal. Other factors are also important, though.

An individual who suffers from a disability included in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments is generally more likely to win a SSDI appeal. Also, an applicant must clearly demonstrate that the disability prevents employment and will last for a period of at least one year. In order to establish a disability during the SSDI appeals process, it is important for an applicant to provide medical records, medical opinions, and other written evidence. Additionally, an applicant should be cognizant of both the weaknesses and the strengths of their case.

At an SSDI hearing, an administrative law judge will ask the applicant questions about how their disability affects daily living. During the hearing, both the judge and the applicant’s attorney will be given an opportunity to question any medical or vocational witnesses. The applicant will also be provided with an opportunity to discuss any pertinent issues which may have on effect on his or her case.

The administrative law judge has up to 90 days to render a decision following an SSDI appeal. Common decisions include approval of the entire disability, approval of the disability for a shorter time period than requested, denial of the disability, and dismissal. A judge will normally dismiss an applicant’s case where a request for appeal was not timely filed or the applicant failed to attend the hearing. Although about half of all SSDI cases are approved following an administrative hearing, many are denied. A disabled applicant may appeal an administrative decision before a federal court. If your SSDI application was denied, a capable Massachusetts social security disability attorney can help you file an appeal.

If you are temporarily or permanently disabled, contact Pulgini & Norton, LLP. Our experienced Braintree social security disability lawyers are available to assist you with filing your SSDI application or appeal. We will also help you evaluate your claim, gather any evidence, and present your case as favorably as possible on appeal. Our law firm assists disabled individuals throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To discuss your SSDI claim in more detail, contact Pulgini & Norton’s dedicated attorneys through our website or call us at 781-843-2200.

Additional Resources:

Social Security Disability Hearings Before Administrative Law Judges, by Midwest Disability PA