Under Social Security guidelines, there are generally four levels of appeal where we can help win the disability benefits you deserve.
1. Request for Reconsideration – If your initial application for Social Security disability benefits is denied, we can submit additional evidence by completing an Appeal Disability Report, and getting your application reviewed by someone other than the official who turned you down. Legal representation is important at this stage of appeal.
2. Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) – If you were denied at the Reconsideration level, we can have your case evaluated at a hearing by an ALJ. At this point, The Packard Law Firm can present your case along with any additional medical evidence and work history. Social Security may have its own witnesses. Your attorney can cross-examine them. The preparation of your case and your testimony is very important at an ALJ.
3. Review by the Appeals Council – If the ALJ also denies your claim, your case is not necessarily over. Your disability lawyer may ask that your case be reviewed by Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council. This is the last “administrative decisional” level; the Appeals Council renders the Social Security's final decision.
4. Federal Court Review – If you and your attorney disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision, the last step may be to file a lawsuit against Social Security in Federal District Court. (District Court is not part of Social Security.) You must file your case within 60 days from the date you received your Appeals Council denial. The Packard Law Firm has extensive experience arguing in Federal Court, and can help you file your appeal within this crucial timeframe. Please contact our office immediately to get started.
Federal Court appeals are typically about procedural issues rather than medical facts. No one is allowed to testify. No new evidence is presented. It can take a year or longer to receive a decision from the judge. The judge may:
- send the case back to Social Security with instructions about your case
- agree with the decision to deny your case, or
- reverse Social Security and award you disability benefits.
In very rare cases, further appeals may be made to Federal Circuit Court and the United States Supreme Court.
The Packard Law Firm represents people unable to work at all levels of appeal. Whether you need to apply for benefits or if you were already denied, contact us to talk about your case. There is no attorney fee unless you win disability benefits.