Just because your claim was denied at first, do not despair. Although most claims get denied initially, your chances go up significantly if you stick with it. In fact, most claims that make it to a hearing get approved. Persistence pays off.
You apply for disability benefits when you become disabled.
Once you complete the application, your file goes to your local Social Security Field Office. The Field Office determines non-medical issues, like if your name matches your Social Security Number, whether you have worked enough to qualify, and other things of that nature.
If everything checks out, then Social Security farms your file out to the State of California’s Disability Determination Service Division (“DDSD”). This state agency makes the initial decision on whether you are disabled.
DDSD makes a decision with whatever information they have. They mail you a decision letter. You will often get your money very quickly if the decision is favorable. I have to give them credit; once Social Security decides to “turn on the money hose”; it is amazing how quick it will show up in your bank account. If DDSD denies your claim, do not give up.
It usually makes more sense to file a Request for Reconsideration than a new application. This is the first appeal. DDSD rarely grants one of these because there is usually no additional evidence to submit. It seems almost like DDSD simply hands your file off to a different examiner to see if your first examiner made any big mistakes in denying your claim. The main goal of this step for me is to get it over with and file …
This is where an attorney can really earn his pay. If you go to a disability hearing in front of a Social Security Administration Administrative Law Judge without a lawyer, you are making a mistake. Not only will you submit additional evidence, but also, for the first time, a real live human being (the judge) will get a chance to ask you questions and hear your story. You can also call witnesses who will support your claim.
If you lose at the hearing level, you can file an appeal with the Appeals Council. This mysterious body will either affirm the judge’s decision, remand the case back to the judge for further proceedings, or reverse the judge’s decision. Appeals at this level have a higher success rate when there is an error of law.
If you lose at the Appeals Council, then you have to file an action in the Federal court system. These are successful often enough that it is usually better to appeal than file a new claim.
"I would welcome the chance to talk to you about how I can help you in your Social Security Disability claim."
Please call (310) 443-4117 for a free consultation.
From San Diego to San Luis Obispo and from Bakersfield to Brawley, the Law Office of James B. Lewis provides legal services to the greater Los Angeles area and beyond, including: Alhambra, Arcadia, Baldwin Park, Bell, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Burbank, Carson, Cerritos, Compton, Diamond Bar, Downey, El Monte, Gardena, Glendale, Glendora, Hawaiian Gardens, Hawthorne, Inglewood, La Mirada, La Puente, Lakewood, Lancaster, Long Beach, Lynwood, Montebello, Norwalk, Palmdale, Paramount, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, Pomona, Rosemead, Santa Monica, South Gate, Torrance, West Covina, Anaheim, Cypress, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, San Diego County, Imperial County, Riverside County, Cathedral City, Corona, Hemet, Indio, Jurupa Valley, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, San Bernardino County, Apple Valley, Fontana, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Rialto, Victorville, Kern County, Bakersfield, Tehachapi, San Luis Obispo County, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara County, Buellton, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Maria, Ventura County, Camarillo, and Oxnard.