Disability Advocates Group is dedicated to helping disabled individuals and their families in California obtain the Social Security disability benefits they deserve. If your claim has been denied, the best way to protect your rights is to consult our experienced disability lawyers. We have a proven history of guiding our clients through the disability appeals process and achieving successful outcomes in federal court appeals.
Why are disability claims denied by the SSA?
While a disability claim can be denied for technical reasons (e.g. insufficient work credits), claims are typically denied because the Social Security Administration and/or an Administrative Law Judge determines that the medical evidence provided does not support the claim or a disability examiner determines that the claimant is capable of performing some type of work. Although you have a right to a disability appeal, an Administrative Law Judge and the Appeals Council will rely on the medical record to make a final determination and may deny your claim.
How Do I Appeal A Disability Claim In Federal Court?
Once the appeals process is exhausted, you also have a right to appeal in federal court. If you are appealing your denial by the Appeals Council to the Federal Court, this appeal must be prepared and filed within 60 days of the date of the denial by the Appeals Council. Our experienced disability lawyers will prepare and file a civil complaint in federal court. We are well-versed in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing civil proceedings in the U.S. District Courts. Because these rules are very exacting and have very strict deadlines, it is crucial to have the sophisticated legal representation Disability Advocates Group provides.
What Happens After The Complaint Is Filed?
After our attorneys have filed the complaint, the court will issue a summons, which we are required to serve on the Social Security Administration( SSA), along with a copy of the complaint. An attorney for the SSA will then file an answer, which will briefly explain the reasons your benefits claim has been denied by the Administrative Law Judge and the Appeals Council.
Once the SSA has filed an answer, our disability lawyers will file an opening brief. This is a legal document that reviews the claim denial based on the medical evidence and any testimony that was provided by medical and vocational experts at the disability hearing (which is one of the steps in the disability appeals process). Our objective is to convince a federal court judge that (1) the SSA did not adequately consider the medical evidence or (2) the denial of your disability benefits claim did not adhere to applicable law.
It is important to note that an opening brief cannot include any new evidence. Therefore, it is crucial for the brief to focus on the most relevant medical evidence, such as objective test results and opinions from your doctor supporting your claim. For this reason, it is essential to work with a disability lawyer who is skilled in writing federal appeals briefs in disability cases.
Social Security’s Response
After our attorneys file the opening brief, the SSA will likely file a response brief which will be an attempt to refute our arguments and explain why its adverse determination was correct. At this point we may consider filing a reply brief to highlight flaws in the SSA’s argument. Once all the briefs are filed, the federal judge will review all the material. In rare cases, the judge may schedule oral arguments. More often than not, however, the judge will make a decision based solely on his or her review of the evidence submitted in the appeal.
Potential Outcomes of Federal Court Appeals in Disability Denials
You should know that a federal court appeal is a lengthy process; it may take up to a year before a judge issues a decision. Generally, the judge has three options:
- Remand the case — In this situation, the judge will send the disability claim back to the ALJ for reconsideration. The judge may also direct the ALJ to consider factors and issues that may not have been adequately assessed during the disability appeal. If your claim is remanded, the ALJ may be inclined to approve the claim in light of the fact that his or her decision may be overturned by the judge.
- Affirm the SSA’s decision — If the federal judge affirms the SSA’s decision, your disability claim will be denied.
- Reverse the SSA’s decision — The federal judge may overturn the ALJ’s opinion and award you disability benefits.
Given the complexities involved in a federal court appeal, working with the right disability lawyer can mean the difference between having a federal judge deny your claim and obtaining the benefits you deserve.
Contact Our Los Angeles Federal Court Appeals for Disability Claims Lawyer
When you work with Disability Advocates Group, you can rest assured that your federal court appeal will be handled with a sense of urgency. We will leverage our legal writing skills to present an appeal that supports your disability benefits claim. Our legal team truly understands the medical and financial challenges facing you and your family, which is why we will not charge any attorneys’ fees until we win benefits for you. Contact our office today so we can get started on your federal court appeal.