If your disability application has been denied disability benefits after a reconsideration review, the next step is to ask for a Social Security Disability appeal hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Having legal representation from a Social Security disability lawyer can be quite important if you are thinking about asking for a hearing as a skilled disability attorney can assist you in meeting deadlines, gathering evidence and advocating for you in the courtroom.
A hearing request must be completed within 60 days from the date of your denial and there are three ways you can request this hearing:
- Sending in a form
- Writing a letter to your local Social Security office
- Completing an online form
In order to request a hearing online, you must have already applied for disability benefits, have received your Notice of a Decision, and live in the United States or a U.S. territory.
With the online process, there are two components:
Disability Report – You must include any new evidence of your disabling condition like hospital and doctor visits or challenges you have dealt with that affect your ability to work. The completion time is estimated around 40 minutes.
Disability Internet Appeal Application – This part requires you to update your personal information and signify whether you will have legal representation or not. It takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Because you have the ability to save your work, you do not have to complete the entire online application at one time. You will be given a reentry number after you exit out of the site so that you can begin where you left off the next time you log in.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) advises that applicants gather certain information in advance of filling out the application such as your:
- Social Security number
- Notice of Reconsideration or Notice of Decision
- Lawyer's phone number and address
- Witnesses' phone numbers and addresses
- Detailed medical descriptions of your disabling condition
- Current medications you are taking, and more.
Sending in an Appeal Form
In order to receive a hearing before an ALJ, you will need to complete a Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge (HA-501). Once this form is completed, you can mail or deliver it to your local Social Security office.
This form is important because you are able to explain why you do not agree with the SSA's decision to deny you benefits, you can notify the SSA that you will be sending in more medical evidence and you intend on being at the hearing in-person.
In addition to your request for hearing, you will need to submit a number of additional forms, including:
- Disability Report – Appeal (SSA-3441)
- Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (SSA-827)
If you choose to hire an attorney, you will also need to complete an Appointment of Representative form (SSA-1696).
Make sure to review your denial letter for information about which forms you need to submit. You can also call your local Social Security Office for more information.
Be Mindful of Deadlines
It is imperative that you ask for an appeal within 60 days of receiving your Social Security decision letter, along with an additional five mailing days. If you do not meet this deadline, you will have to begin again with a new application.
While it may be possible to put in a late request for a hearing, most ALJ judges do not welcome late requests. However, if you were in the hospital, you may be able to file a late request.
Remember to include any additional new medical evidence within 10 days of your hearing request filing date. Maintain organized records of all tests, doctors' appointments and keep your medical history up-to-date.
If you need legal help with requesting an ALJ hearing, contact the disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm PC for assistance with your application. Your initial consultation is free and we charge no legal fees unless you recover compensation.