2020 SSD Appeals Process in Texas
Many people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are turned down at first. Many applicants receive denial notices despite having valid SSD claims. If you have applied for disability benefits and received an SSD denial notice, you may have to file an appeal in order to receive disability benefits.
Did You Receive an SSD Claim Denial?
Receiving a denial letter can be extremely frustrating and disheartening, but you shouldn’t give up. Many denials are successfully overturned on appeal. Your first step after receiving an SSD denial letter in the Dallas area should be to consult with a knowledgeable Social Security appeals lawyer.
The SSD appeal attorneys at Kraft & Associates, P.C., have been handling Social Security disability appeals in the Dallas metro area for more than 30 years. We’re proud to have more than 300 reviews from past clients testifying to our determination and competence in handling SSD appeals. Our attorneys have helped many SSD applicants successfully appeal denied disability claims and obtain the full benefits they are entitled to receive.
A Dallas SSD lawyer at Kraft & Associates, P.C., can help you evaluate the reason for the denial and determine whether you should appeal a denied SSD benefits application. If we handle your appeal, our Texas SSD attorneys will work on your SSD appeal on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay any upfront fee to have a lawyer handle your SSD appeal. You will not be expected to pay any SSD lawyer fee unless we secure compensation for you.
How and When Do I File an Appeal of an SSD Claim?
The letter you receive from the Disability Determination Services office will state the reason your disability claim was denied. You have a right to file an appeal if your initial SSD application is denied. But you have only a limited amount of time to file an appeal. Don’t delay! You must file an appeal within 60 days of the date of the letter denying your disability benefits.
There are multiple levels of appeals if your application for disability benefits has been turned down. But you don’t have to go through the appeals process on your own.
The complexity of navigating the SSD appeals process is an important reason to work with a knowledgeable Social Security appeals attorney. A capable lawyer is familiar with the process and can help you navigate the bureaucratic appeals process. Having a qualified SSD appeal lawyer can ease your concerns about handling an appeal on your own.
You should contact a qualified SSD lawyer right away if you have received a denial notice.
What is the First Step in the Appeals Process?
The first step in the SSDI appeals process is to request a reconsideration of your disability benefits application. A reconsideration entails a review of your entire application and medical evidence of your disability by a claims reviewer who was not involved in the initial decision.
The claims reviewer will look at the evidence used to make the decision and consider any additional information provided as well. According to the Social Security Administration, the average processing time for a reconsideration was 103 days in the most recent year of data. Most SSD appeals are denied at the reconsideration level, and additional steps are required to pursue disability benefits.
What Are the Next Steps in the SSD Appeals Process?
The second step in the SSD appeals process is a hearing before an administrative law judge. If you disagree with the outcome of the reconsideration, you can file an SSD appeal form and request a hearing to present your case for disability benefits. An experienced SSD attorney at Kraft & Associates, P.C., can help you prepare for the hearing and represent you at the hearing.
Our legal team can help you obtain additional medical information and line up medical specialists to testify on your behalf at the hearing. Kraft & Associates, P.C., has a network of medical specialists that we may call upon to evaluate your medical condition and testify in your case.
We also will prepare you for the questions a judge is likely to ask you about your disability, your employment history, and the limitations your condition puts on your ability to perform gainful work. The hearing will take place at a Social Security Administration hearing office and is conducted like a trial with testimony by witnesses. The hearing before an administrative law judge offers the best opportunity to present new evidence and overturn a denial. The judge typically issues a written decision regarding your appeal within 90 to 120 days of the hearing.
If you disagree with the judge’s decision, the third step is to appeal the decision to the Social Security Appeals Council. The SSD Appeals council may grant, deny or dismiss your appeal. If the council agrees to review your case, it may decide your case on its own. The appeals council also may send the case back to an administrative law judge and order the judge to give your case additional consideration. If the council believes that the judge made the correct decision, the council may decline to review your case and send you a letter explaining the decision.
If you wish to appeal the decision of the SSD Appeals Council, you may file a lawsuit in federal district court in Texas within 60 days of receiving the decision by the appeals council. A federal judge will evaluate whether legal errors were made in the decision-making process that warrant overturning the decision of the administrative law judge to the appeals council.
As you can tell, there are numerous steps in the appeals process and a lot of paperwork to fill out and records to gather. The process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you are trying to pursue an appeal on your own while struggling to manage a disabling health condition. Seeking the guidance of an experienced SSDI lawyer offers the best chance of filing a successful appeal and can lift a burden off your shoulders.
Our Dallas SSD attorneys at Kraft & Associates, P.C., have helped disabled clients obtain benefits at every step in the SDD appeals process. We are ready to help you present your strongest appeal for SSD benefits.
Social Security Disability Thresholds Raised in 2020
The Social Security Administration’s cost of living adjustment for 2020 increased disability payments for SSDI and SSI recipients by 1.6 percent. Benefits for spouses and children of disabled workers increased by 1.6 percent as well.
According to a recent statistical report, approximately 3.4 percent of Texas residents ages 18 to 64 receive SSDI benefits.
Individuals collecting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may earn more income in 2020 and still be eligible for disability benefits.
An important factor in qualifying for SSDI is the inability to perform substantial work due to a disabling condition. The Social Security Administration wants people to work if they are able, so SSDI recipients may earn up to a certain amount of income without losing eligibility for benefits.
The SSD earnings limits for 2020 are:
- Non-blind workers: $1,260 per month
- Blind workers: $2,110 per month
- Trial worker period: $910 per month
To qualify for SSDI, you cannot be earning more than $1,260 a month from working. However, the income threshold is $2,110 for workers who are legally blind.
How Long Does an SSD Appeal Take?
The Social Security Administration handles a high volume of disability applications and appeals.
Based on our SSD attorneys’ experience handling many cases, the appeals process typically takes a minimum of several months and may take one to two years if multiple appeals are required.
Scheduling a hearing before an administrative law judge and getting a decision may take a year or longer. The judge who hears the SSD appeal typically takes a number of months to issue a decision after a hearing is held.
Can I Fast Track My SSD Appeal?
While there are no shortcuts to an SSD appeal, it is important to avoid missteps that can cause unnecessary delays. For example, the submission of an incomplete SSD application or an application lacking sufficient medical evidence can lead to delays in the processing of your disability claim. It can also cause a technical denial of your application, without consideration of the medical evidence. Having a knowledgeable Texas SSD lawyer to guide you through the appeals process can be invaluable.
An experienced SSD appeals lawyer at Kraft & Associates, P.C., can help ensure that your file is complete and that the medical evidence is up to date so that the judge will have all the information needed to decide your appeal.