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Request for Hearing

Experienced Attorney Assisting Claimants With Social Security Appeals

If you find that your initial application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has been denied, you are far from alone. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which runs the SSDI program, rejects many claims at the outset that in fact have merit. The good news is that there are several steps that you can take to appeal a denial of a claim and assert your eligibility for government benefits. The first step consists of filing a Request for Reconsideration by a Disability Determination Services examiner (in both the states of Maine and Massachusetts), or by filing a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (in the State of New Hampshire, as New Hampshire has long been a pilot project state where the Request for Reconsideration process was dropped). Unfortunately, given the high rate of denial at the reconsideration level in both Maine and Massachusetts, many claimants also often find that they need to move beyond that stage to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. This prospect may sound daunting, but it should not be, especially if you are assisted by a knowledgeable professional. Social Security lawyer Russell J. Goldsmith has over 34 years of experience helping SSDI claimants seek the financial assistance that they need. He can explore the details of your case, gather useful evidence for your appeal, and advocate for your rights in a professional and ethical manner in every phase of the process.

Seeking a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge

Just as you must file your Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of the denial of your initial claim, you will need to file your Request for Hearing within 60 days of when you receive the notice of decision that contains the denial of your Request for Reconsideration. Our legal team can assist you with submitting your request to the SSA. We assist in determining what additional evidence, including medical records and reports from your doctors may be missing that should be submitted at this level of review so as to help bolster the documentation of your claim. Likewise, our experienced legal team will prepare an argument brief and package of updated documentation well in advance of any scheduled hearing so as to attempt to avoid the need to proceed to hearing. . As is made evident by the success stories posted on our website http://www.russelljgoldsmith.com/russell-goldsmith-success-stories.html, we are many times able to avoid the need to proceed to hearing as a result of our argument brief (which lays out for the presiding ALJ why we believe the Social Security file, without the need for testimonial (oral) evidence, provides a sufficient basis for a fully favorable on the record decision).

The purpose of a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) generally is to assess whether you meet the medical requirement for receiving benefits. Claimants must show that they have suffered from a severe physical or mental impairment that has made them unable to work for at least one year, or which condition is likely to result in death. There is more than one way to meet this standard, however. You can show that your condition satisfies the criteria of a medical Listing of Impairment that the SSA explicitly recognizes as a qualifying disability, or you can show that it prevents you from holding any type of job that exists in significant numbers in the national economy. In addition to medical records, testimony from your loved ones or people with whom you regularly interact may be helpful to your effort to persuade the ALJ that you are eligible for SSDI.

Compared to a formal proceeding in a courtroom, a hearing before an ALJ tends to be less formal and not as long. The ALJ, or depending on the ALJ it may very well be your attorney, will ask you about your symptoms and how they impact your ability to function during the day (and would consequently impact your ability to undertake work functions on a regular and continuing basis). Likewise, testimony would be taken so as to get a grasp of how one’s medical conditions would impact their ability to perform one’s past relevant work. The ALJ may call a medical expert to testify as to what they believe the medical record shows in terms of the nature and severity of your medical conditions and how they might impact your ability to function in a work setting. Likewise, a vocational expert probably may be called upon to attend the hearing to offer insight as to what types of jobs might be available in the local, regional and national economies for someone similar to yourself.

Once the ALJ has weighed all of the evidence regarding a case, he or she will reach a decision. If the ALJ finds that the applicant is entitled to benefits, a notice of decision will be sent to you so as to provide a detailed assessment under Social Security’s Five Step Sequential Evaluation Process as to why the ALJ believes you are or are not disabled under Social Security’s rules. Assuming the decision is a favorable one, a notice of award will be sent to you from the payment processing center explaining what benefits are available in light of the ALJ’s decision.. On the other hand, if the ALJ provides an “unfavorable decision,” the detailed decision will spell out under the sequential evaluation process why the ALJ came to that decision and also will explain how one pursues a review of the ALJ’s decision before Social Security’s Appeals Council. However, a review of your case before the SSA Appeals Council is not the end of the road: one may be able to have their case heard before a judge in Federal District Court assuming there is yet another denial at the Appeals Council level of review.

Seek Legal Representation for Your Government Benefits Claim

You should not feel intimidated by the SSDI appeals process. Getting a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can provide that extra layer of reassurance. At the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, our team is committed to advocating for the rights of people who need government benefits at every step of the process, from the initial claim through the many levels of appeals. Contact SSDI attorney Russell J. Goldsmith by completing our online form or calling us toll-free at (800) 773-8622.