Social Security disability claims face an overwhelming 70% denial rate during the initial evaluation. If your application in West Virginia got denied, know that you are not alone and it isn’t the end of the road for you. There are up to 4 stages of the appeals process where you can have your claim approved for benefits.
Request for a reconsideration
The first step is to file a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of receiving your notice of denial. Your Request for Reconsideration must be in writing, and explain why you believe the decision made in your case was wrong. You can also submit new evidence at this time that wasn’t available when the Social Security Administration evaluated your initial claim.
Request for a hearing
If your claim is denied again, your next step would be to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. This is where you can really make your case and present evidence to support your claim. In West Virginia, the administrative law judge will schedule your hearing 10-13 months after filing the request. After the hearing, the judge will make a decision on your claim, which they usually send out via mail within 30-90 days.
Request a review with the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council
If things still don’t go your way, you can ask the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council to review your case. The council will either deny your request, return your case to the administrative law judge for another hearing, or decide on your claim themselves.
File a civil suit in federal district court
If you’ve been denied at all of the stages above, you can bring a civil action in federal court. This is generally considered to be the last resort for most people. If successful, the court will order the Social Security Administration to pay you SSDI benefits. However, if the federal district court denies your claim, you can still appeal that decision in higher federal courts.
Appealing a Social Security disability denial in West Virginia can be a long and complex process, but it’s important to know that you have options and there is hope. With proper preparation, you can increase your chances of having your claim approved at one of the appeals stages.