After an SSD Application Denial
If you have been turned down after submitting your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits, you may be unsure what to do next and anxious about your future. Your anxiety is warranted. The process for obtaining disability benefits can often be a long, complex one. While somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of initial applications for SSD are approved (this varies based on your location as some states have higher approval rates for initial applications as well as for disability benefits overall), if you are one of those whose application was not approved, you have a long haul ahead.
First, you will send your application for reconsideration. Since essentially the same people who denied your initial application will determine the outcome of your reconsideration, few people are approved at this level. The exception would be if you did not have sufficient medical information with your initial application but did have that information for your reconsideration. If you are denied at the reconsideration level, your next step will be the appeal process, and it is extremely important that you have an experienced SSD attorney by your side during this often-lengthy process. If you are nervous about how much it will cost you to hire an SSD attorney, here is some good news.
How Much Does a Social Security Disability Attorney Cost?
It does not cost you anything to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer. The process is much the same as the process when you hire a personal injury attorney. While you pay no money upfront, your attorney receives a percentage of your award if your personal injury case is successful. In an SSD case, when you are approved for disability benefits, your attorney receives a percentage of your back-pay award—usually 25 percent up to a maximum of $6,000. Because it usually takes so long for an SSD appeal to be successful, there is usually back-pay in the form of a lump sum payment.
Your SSD attorney will help you through the first appeal, which is heard before an Administrative Law Judge. This is the step in the process of obtaining disability benefits where the most people are successful—with many more of those with an attorney being successful than those without an attorney. If you are denied at the ALJ appeal stage, you will then go to the Appeals Council level, where a panel of Administrative Appeals Judges will review the lower ALJ decisions to determine if they agree or disagree.
Although the Appeals Council can reverse an ALJ decision, it is statistically rare for them to do so. The final level of appeal is to the Federal Court. The Federal Court reverses ALJ decisions, granting disability benefits, about 2 percent of the time. About half the time they find errors in the ALJ’s decision, remanding the case back to the ALJ.
What you need to know is that while your SSD attorney will be fighting hard for your disability benefits throughout this process, he or she is getting paid nothing for all this hard work unless you are eventually successful in your bid for disability benefits. The Carmichael Law Group can be your advocate throughout the process, answering your questions, helping you understand the process, and taking care of all the details. Contact the Carmichael Law Group today.