Football coaching great, Vince Lombardi, said, “It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.” That’s a fine adage for football players who expect to find themselves hitting the ground a lot.
If you have suffered a disabling injury, however, the issue isn’t how many times you get up, but whether you can get up at all. Social Security Disability Insurance exists for those who can’t return to the field of everyday work life and are eligible for the financial support. Unfortunately, statistics bear out that obtaining benefits requires much the same determination as called for by Lombardi.
On the bright side, just as there are stretchers on the sidelines for football players, there are experienced attorneys available in Alabama ready to help disabled workers get the assistance they need. Not only do they know what the system requires, they also bring the necessary energy to keep driving the ball toward the goal.
You have four possible downs
Building on the football analogy, consider that a team in possession of the ball gets four downs to advance the ball. Similarly, applicants suffering a claims denial may have four levels of possible appeal. These include:
- Reconsideration. Denials on first applications occur about 70 percent of the time. The first play after that is to seek a reconsideration of your case. If done correctly, perhaps including a rebuttal of the government’s findings, this could result in an approval.
- Hearing. If reconsideration fails, the next play can be to seek a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Approval rates tend to improve at this level.
- Appeals Council Review. Approvals from a hearing can’t be guaranteed, so the next move available is to seek a review by the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Appeals Council. This might only be recommended if there was a clear and material error made by the administrative law judge.
- Federal Court. The final option might be to take your case to federal court. This means filing a civil suit seeking to overturn of the SSA council decision. Evidence at this level must show that the SSA decision is unreasonable or not founded in the facts. The judge must be convinced the denial was arbitrary and capricious.
While this post might seem somewhat light hearted in its comparisons with football, experienced attorneys know obtaining benefits is no game. There’s no shame in seeking legal help from the outset of your application efforts.