Dealing with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and disability insurance processes in Maryland can feel like being in a foreign country. The language and the customs are not natural to you. Add to this disorienting experience the stress of a denial letter and the confusion can mount. An advocate can help translate the language and acquaint you with the customs.
The government recognizes the overwhelming nature of your circumstances and the appeal process. The goal is not to defeat you but to provide support and benefits to qualified applicants. For these reasons, the law allows for and particularly the Social Security Administration (SSA) clearly points out your right to representation. A disability advocate can provide support, stress relief, valuable insight and work hours toward your case.
A denial letter does not indicate an absence of a disability just the rejection of benefits. Therefore, the option of an appeal exists. To obtain a voice in this process, a request for reconsideration must be filed. This letter asks the SSA to look again at your claim. The most effective means to challenge the denial is to provide new evidence addressing the SSA’s reasons for denial. The denial letter lists the reasons.
If a denial still stands, hope is not lost. You have the right to appeal this decision as well. In fact, there are three more levels of appeal after reconsideration. A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ( ALJ), a review before the SSA Appeals Council and filing a claim in federal court all work to protect your rights. Each of these levels operates under its rules and procedures.
A disability advocate proves valuable at each level of appeal. As your representative, they fill the role of guiding you through the process and advocating for you. For example, in seeking a reconsideration, an advocate brings knowledge of paperwork and deadlines. He or she also provides assistance in gathering evidence to support your case, increasing the chance of a decision reversal.
To further illustrate, at an ALJ hearing, an Appeal Council Review or standing in federal court, your best interest is represented by appearing in person or via video. An advocate offers counsel on preparing paperwork and witnesses and can be present with you at the hearing to speak on your behalf. This support can be especially valuable in federal court, your final appeal option when the court must see evidence that the SSA’s decision was not based on fact or was unreasonable to overturn the denial.
An experienced advocate lends valuable knowledge to filing an appeal letter for Social Security and other disability insurances. In Social Security cases, the SSA offers free assistance to those representing themselves. However, in both instances, working with an advocate’s knowledge of the process provides support in an often intimidating environment and increases your chances of achieving the desired outcome.