The Social Security Appeals Process in Kentucky
For injured workers, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be critical to an employee’s ability to get back on their feet and back to work. For those who have a permanent disability, these benefits are crucial to ensuring a worker is able to support themselves and their family. However, according to the Social Security Administration, only about 45 percent of disabled workers who apply for SSDI will receive benefits. The SSA denies applications for a variety of reasons. Nearly half of all denials are based on technical problems with the application, rather than a lack of qualifying disability or insufficient work history. These technical denials can significantly delay an applicant’s benefits.
The Kentucky Social Security attorneys at Hessig & Pohl are here to help workers obtain the benefits they need and deserve. With decades of collective experience successfully submitting Kentucky SSDI claims, we know what it takes to get a claim approved. We are also prepared to handle an appeal, if your initial application was denied. If you have questions about the SSDI application process, Hessig & Pohl can help.
Appealing the Denial of SSDI Benefits in Kentucky
Going through the process of applying for SSDI benefits is not an easy task, and it can be incredibly frustrating when the SSA rejects an application. However, just because an application is denied does not mean that it is the end of the road.
When the SSA denies a claim for SSDI benefits, it will send out a letter explaining that the application was denied, and the reason for denial. From the moment the letter is sent, an applicant has only 60 days to take further action, or they give up their right to appeal the decision.
Request a Reconsideration:
The first step in appealing a denial of SSDI benefits is to request a reconsideration. In a reconsideration, an applicant will have the opportunity to present any additional evidence they feel is helpful to their case. The reconsideration will be conducted by someone who was not involved in the initial decision.
Schedule a Hearing in Front of an Administrative Law Judge:
If a reconsideration is unsuccessful, the next step is to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). These hearing take place in an SSA office. Again, an applicant will be able to present any additional documentation in support of their claim. However, the SSA will also have a representative at the hearing, ready to explain the reasons behind the denial.
One of the more challenging issues SSDI applicants face in a hearing is how to deal with the testimony of a vocational expert. A vocational expert is an expert witness called by the SSA who will testify to the applicant’s condition, the limitations it imposes, and their ability to perform the necessary tasks of their job. The vocational expert is familiar with available positions in the current job market as well as the skills required to perform particular jobs. Often, a vocational expert’s testimony can be harmful to an applicant’s case, as they will usually recommend other jobs that the worker could perform.
A dedicated Louisville social security attorney can effectively cross-examine a vocational expert, highlighting flaws in their assumptions. If an attorney is able to discredit the vocational expert’s opinion, it is more likely that the judge will not rely on the expert’s recommendations.
Request Review by the Appellate Council:
If the ALJ affirms the denial of an applicant’s claim, the next step is for the applicant to request the Appellate Council to review the ALJ’s decision. If the Appellate Council identifies a flaw in the ALJ’s decision, it may send the case back to the ALJ for further consideration.
File a Case in Federal Court:
Finally, if an applicant is unsuccessful in obtaining relief in front of the Appellate Council, they can file a federal court case. To do so, however, the applicant will need to have an attorney who is licensed to practice in front of that particular court.
The SSDI appeals process in Kentucky is complicated, and applicants must follow very specific procedures after their claim is denied. At the law firm of Hessig & Pohl, we can help SSDI applicants with the appeals process.
Contact a Kentucky SSDI Attorney for Assistance with Your Social Security Appeal
If the SSA denied your claim for SSDI benefits, we can help. At the Louisville social security law firm of Hessig & Pohl, we help workers prepare and submit their SSDI claims, as well as handle their appeals. We regularly represent SSDI applicants who applied on their own and had their applications denied by the SSA. With our decades of experience on your side, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. To learn more, and to schedule a consultation with one of our Kentucky disability lawyers today, call 502-777-1111. Calling is free, and because we work on a contingency basis, we will not charge a fee unless we can help you obtain benefits.
Marty fought for me when the insurance company denied my claim. We sued and got the insurance limits.