What do I do if my disability claim has been denied?

Many Louisiana Social Security Disability applicants may be asking this question right now. A denied claim is not the end of the road; you have the right to appeal. Here’s how the process works:

what should I do if my disability claim is denied?In Louisiana, upon receiving your denial letter, you have 60-days to file a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (SSA Form HA-501).  During the hearing, you will likely testify, you or your representative may call witnesses, and there may be governmental paid for experts that testify.  The testimonies and evidence in your claim file will be carefully reviewed, and a decision will then be made.

If the ALJ’s decision is still not favorable, you may appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council.  Similar to the ALJ, the Appeals Council will review all evidence in your case and either reach a decision itself or refer your case back to the ALJ. It’s important to point out that although the Appeals Court considers every request for review, it may decide to not to consider your request and thus the ALJ’s decision will stand.

If you still disagree with the decision up to this point, your final step is to submit your case to Federal District Court for review. Here, at this final step in the process, a district court judge will review the evidence in the case and order a determination on whether the SSA‘s decision should be overturned.

Although this process may seem long and cumbersome, it’s important to note that you do have the right to appeal your case.  It is also important to note that you cannot skip any step.  That is, you cannot take your case straight to federal court if you are not happy with the initial decision.  You have to go to the ALJ first, then the Appeals Council, before getting to federal court.

If your disability claim has been denied and you are curious about your options, it never hurts to talk to an experienced Social Security attorney who can give you intelligent answers that steer you in the right direction. Contact Loyd Bourgeois for personalized service and attention to your case from day one. Call today – 1-888-LJB-4-SSD or 888-552-4773.