In our last post, we began speaking about the scrutiny to which some SSDI judges have been subjected recently based on the contention is that they are thoughtlessly approving claims.. Although this alleged “rubber-stamping” of claims is skewed in the direction of approving rather than denying claims, the possibility of inaccurate or improper decision-making in SSDI claims should concern any applicant.
The judicial hearing, as we mentioned last time, is the second step in the SSDI appeals process, and is an important opportunity for an applicant to present their case in person, along with any new evidence in support of their claim. An applicant need not always be present at their hearing, though. In cases where the judge feels it to be necessary, he or she will require the applicant’s presence.
Beyond the hearing, there are two further potential through which an appeal may proceed. The next one in line is a review of a hearing decision by the Social Security Appeal’s Council. Not every request for a review is approved, though. Cases where the council feels the hearing decision was correct may be denied. This is the last level of appeal within the Social Security Administration. In very rare cases, one can file a lawsuit in federal court. Most people have no need for this level of appeal.
It is important for SSDI applicant’s to understand their right to appeal decisions pertaining to their claim. Working with an experienced attorney is important throughout the appeals process, and those looking to file an appeal should secure an experienced advocate.
Source: Life HealthPRO, “SSDI judge describes lack of information,” Allison Bell, June 10, 2014.Houston Chronicle, “Report: Social Security judges rubber-stamp claims,” Stephen Ohlemacher, June 10, 2014.Social Security Administration, “The Appeals Process,” Accessed July 3, 2014.