The Appeal Process for SSDI and SSI Claims

How Tennessee Social Security disability lawyers can help

The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that processing an initial claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can take anywhere from three to five months. With an initial denial rate of about 60 to 70 percent and a reconsideration denial rate as high as 85 percent, claimants who go through the appeals process can expect the full process to last years in many situations.  Experienced Social Security disability lawyers in Tennessee have the skills to meet all the requirements at every stage in the process to help ensure your claim is handled as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Steps in the appeals process

Once a claim has been denied, Tennessee Social Security disability lawyers can continue to pursue your claim through the following four steps in the appeals process:

  • Step 1— Reconsideration:  This is essentially a resubmission of your claim for complete review by someone at the SSA who did not participate in making the initial decision. Tennessee Social Security disability lawyer Peter T. Skeie reviews the original decision before resubmitting the claim with any new evidence that may be available to support of your claim.
  • Step 2—Hearing:  If the reconsideration of your claim produces an unfavorable decision, the next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). You are typically required to testify at the hearing and produce any new evidence requested. Your attorney will ensure you have expert medical or vocational witnesses to support your claim as well.
  • Step 3—Appeals Council:  If you disagree with the ALJ’s decision following your hearing, you can request review by the Social Security Appeals Council. However, this Council has the ability to deny the review request if it believes the hearing decision was correct. If the Council agrees to the review, it has the option of performing its own review or returning it to the ALJ for further review.
  • Step 4—Federal Court:  If the decision made by the Appeals Council is unfavorable, your attorney can file a lawsuit in a federal district court.

Contact the firm

Nashville Social Security disability lawyer, Peter T. Skeie represents those in the greater Nashville, TN area in Social Security disability claims and survivor benefits. If you believe you may be eligible to receive these federal benefits or if your claim has been denied, please call 615-313-9111 or contact the firm online to schedule a free initial consultation with a Nashville disability attorney from our firm.