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Getting Reconsiderations in Social Security Hearings

In a Social Security Hearing, lawyers provide invaluable support to claimants in many ways. We all know that the Social Security Administration has very strict guidelines when it comes to approving claims. One of the most common cases in social security hearings are those that involve disability benefit claims. Retirement claims are more simple and straightforward, while proving disability is not always so.

Many disability benefit claims are rejected by the SSA on a daily basis, but most of these rulings can be overturned simply by making an appeal and appearing before authorities and proving that you do have a disability. Even if social security hearings are common, there is a good chance that if you get the right kind of help, you may still get a favorable decision.

People with disabilities have a burden to prove that their disability fits the profile of the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability”. A few things you should remember are that the SSA is very strict on these factors:

  • That your disability must be complete (partial disabilities do not count)

  • That your disability will last at least 12 months (1 year) or that it will result to death

  • Your disability must prevent you from participating in gainful employment or other significant social activities

  • That your disability is included in a list of disabilities that the Social Security Administration uses to approve disability benefit claims

Appealing for a change in the decision about your disability benefits should not be a problem if you meet all the requirements above. Remember that substantial amounts of denials are given favorable ruling during appeals.

What is a “recent work test”?

When assessing a member’s claim for disability benefits, his/her case is subjected to a couple of “tests” to determine if the claim is valid. A recent work test is based on your age at the time when you became disabled.

The Social Security Administration has a table where they can check your age against the number of months you should have worked when your disability began. This table is available in the Social Security Administration’s official website.

What is “duration of work test”?

This refers to another requirement when claiming disability benefits. A member must have worked a required number of years in employment that is covered by the SSA.

What is the appeals process?

When you disagree with the decision on your disability claim, you can follow a process in order for you to be able to make an appeal for a reversal of decision. Remember that you should make your appeal within 60 days of receiving the letter from the Social Security Administration. Here are a few steps that would give you an idea of how it should go:

  • Reconsideration – this refers to a review of your application by somebody who was not involved in making the decision the first time you submitted it. Usually this only requires a review of your records and files and does not require you to be present.

  • Hearing – if the reconsideration still gives you an unfavorable decision, you may request a social security hearing. This hearing is usually presided over by a judge that did not take part in the deliberation of your case when you first filed the claim. You will be questioned at the hearing, and you will be allowed to bring further evidence to back up your claim. You may bring your representative with you to these hearings.

  • Appeals Council – of the social security hearing still does not yield favorable results, you may ask an appeals council to review your case again. Remember that the appeals council may reject a request to review the case if it deems the decision during the hearing to be correct.

During a social security hearing, it would be best to go with a legal representative to ensure that your case is presented properly and effectively. Consult lawyers who specialize in this area to be familiar with your options.

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