Did you recently receive a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), telling you that your claim for disability benefits was denied? If so, don’t give up hope. Keep fighting for the benefits you deserve. With help from an experienced lawyer, you may ultimately get your claim approved on appeal.
The West Virginia Social Security disability (SSD) benefits attorneys of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, can provide the legal skill and knowledge you need.
Every day, we help disabled workers in Charleston and throughout the state to pursue their appeals of denied SSD claims. We know how to tackle the tough issues that often arise in the SSD appeals process.
Contact us today and let us review your case in a free consultation. We know how important disability benefits are to you and your family. We can start work on your appeal right away.
Before you learn more about what it takes to appeal a denied SSD benefits claim, it may help you to understand why your claim may have been denied.
In the Notice of Disapproved Claim which you received in the mail, the SSA should have explained its reasons for the denial in your case. Your lawyer from Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, will focus on those reasons when we pursue your benefits claim on appeal.
The denials that SSD claimants face typically fall within three categories:
In many cases, the SSA denies a claim because it finds that a claimant, despite living with a physical or mental impairment, can return to his or her previous work or do other work.
If you face this obstacle in your case, we can help you on appeal by gathering and presenting your medical and employment records, including records that were not submitted with your application. This evidence can help to establish your right to benefits.
We may also request a “residual functional capacity” assessment from your treating doctor. This assessment provides your doctor’s description of your medical condition and its impact on your ability to work. Your doctor’s opinion can carry significant weight as you pursue benefits.
If you appeal a denied SSD benefits claim in West Virginia, your case could go through as many as four levels of appeal:
You will have 60 days from the date of your last denial notice in which to submit your appeal notice. You must pay close attention to these deadlines. If you miss a deadline, you can lose your right to appeal. If you are considering pursuing an appeal, you should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible so that you can make sure your appeal is timely.
Here, we guide you through how each level of appeal works:
At the request for reconsideration stage, you will ask for a different DDS claims examiner and medical consultant to review your application as well as any new evidence that you present.
In some cases, the DDS team may ask you to submit specific information or ask you to undergo a consultative examination, which is a medical exam conducted by an independent doctor.
If your claim is denied, again, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The hearing can be a crucial stage in your appeal. SSA statistics show that nearly half of all SSD benefits claims that go to the hearing stage are approved.
You can ask for a hearing at the nearest Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). In West Virginia, those offices are located in Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown. You can also ask for a hearing by video.
It will be important to work with a lawyer who will carefully prepare you for the hearing. At the hearing, the lawyer can present the strongest case possible, including presenting testimony from medical and vocational experts.
It will help you to work with a lawyer who has represented clients before ALJs in West Virginia’s different ODAR offices. The lawyer should have a good understanding of what information different ALJs want to review as they make a decision.
If your claim is denied at the hearing stage, you can continue your appeal by requesting review by the SSA Appeals Council. The Council may deny your request, review your case and make a decision on your claim or send your case back to the ALJ for a new review and decision.
In the final level in the SSD appeals, you can file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. If your appeal goes to this level, it will be essential to work with a lawyer who has experience as a litigator in our federal court system.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we believe that a lawyer can bring the educational background, professional skills and ethical approach that you need when pursuing an appeal of a denied SSD benefits claim.
When you work with our firm, we can provide you with many important services. We can:
Our goal is clear: We want to obtain the maximum amount of benefits for you, including any backpay benefits that you may be eligible to receive. We will not charge for our services unless we secure the SSD disability benefits you deserve.
Whether you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you should keep fighting if your claim is initially denied. You can count on the skilled and compassionate lawyers of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, to stand up for you and guide your claim through the appeals process. If you have more SSDI questions, learn more from our Social Security Disability Frequently Asked Questions.
To get started on your appeal, contact us today. We serve clients throughout Charleston and West Virginia. Our initial consultations are always free.