If your claim for disability benefits has been denied, you have a right to a disability appeal. Navigating the appeals process is complicated, however, because there are a number of steps to follow and strict deadlines to meet. The best way to get through a disability appeal and obtain the benefits you deserve is to consult with a trustworthy disability lawyer.
Jon Sipes, Attorney-at-Law, regularly handles disability appeals in El Paso and throughout Texas and the nation. He is keenly aware that the majority of initial benefits claims are denied, and he has a proven history of achieving successful outcomes in disability appeals. This is why working with Jon Sipes increases the likelihood of having your claim approved.
When you become his client, you gain the advantage of having not only a skilled disability lawyer but also a compassionate person who loves what he does and cares about people. Through his many years of practice, Jon Sipes has established long-standing relationships with disability examiners who see him as an honest broker who only handles legitimate claims. This understanding can help to ease the difficulties of filing a claim and put you on a path to obtaining the benefits you deserve.
How do I know if I qualify for disability benefits?
To qualify for disability benefits, you must meet the basic eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In short, you have a condition that is considered a disability. There are two basic requirements to meet this definition. Your condition must:
- Be expected to last at least one year or result in death and
- Prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) as that term is defined by Social Security.
There is also an official list of qualifying impairments, but you may still qualify for benefits if your condition is not listed, but medically equivalent to one that is. You must have medical evidence to prove this, however. The best way to determine whether you are eligible for benefits is to consult with an experienced disability lawyer.
Why are disability claims denied?
Disability claims are frequently denied for a variety of reasons. At times, the person filing makes mistakes in the application or forgets to include important information. In some cases, the medical evidence doesn’t support the claim, or a required consultative exam with a Social Security doctor shows a different result. When it comes to SSDI, many applicants fail to meet the work credit requirements, while SSI claimants often have income or assets that exceed the limit. Regardless of the reason your benefits claim has been denied, you have a right to a disability appeal and the powerful representation Jon Sipes provides.
The Disability Appeals Process in El Paso Texas
Jon Sipes, Attorney-at-Law, can guide through each phase of the appeals process: the Reconsideration stage, the disability hearing, and the Appeals Council review.
Request for Reconsideration
The first level of a disability appeal is to file a Request for Reconsideration. This must be done within 60 days of receiving the denial notice. After your reconsideration request is filed, a disability examiner and a medical consultant who were not involved in the initial decision will review your claim. You should know that only about 20 percent of reconsideration requests are approved, usually for the following reasons:
- There has been a new diagnosis
- The applicant’s condition has worsened
- Evidence of an obvious error in the denial
If your reconsideration request is denied, the next step is to request a disability hearing within 60 days of the reconsideration denial.
Disability Hearing Attorney in Texas
The first thing to know is that a disability hearing is not a court proceeding with a judge and a jury. Instead, this is a meeting conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who is an attorney with the SSA. You have a right to be represented by your attorney, who can also call on medical and vocational experts to provide evidence and testimony.
During the hearing, the ALJ will ask you questions about your disability and work history and inquire about how your condition limits your day-to-day activities. Your disability lawyer also has an opportunity to ask you additional questions and clarify issues for the judge.
A medical expert, such as your doctor, can attest to you having a disabling medical condition, while a vocational expert can provide evidence about how your condition prevents you from performing tasks associated with your job and other types of work.
The ALJ will reach a decision after the hearing and notify you, within 60-to-120 days of the disability hearing date. If the ALJ denies your claim, the next step is to request a review by the Appeals Council.
Social Security Appeals Council
The Appeals Council will review the hearing transcripts and the medical record to make one of the following determinations:
- Overturn the decision
- Send it back to the ALJ for reconsideration
- Affirm the ALJ’s decision
If the Appeals Council denies your claim, Jon Sipes will advise you of your options. You can rest assured he will stand by through every phase of the appeals process, fighting to protect your rights and your dignity.
Contact Our Experienced El Paso Disability Appeals Lawyer
Jon Sipes, Attorney-at-Law, is dedicated to helping disabled individuals obtain the benefits they deserve. If your benefits claim has been denied, he will provide you informed representation and dependable service. Above all Jon Sipes will work tirelessly to help you obtain the resources to support your future medical and financial needs. You will not pay any attorneys’ fees until Jon Sipes wins disability benefits for you. Please contact our office today for a free consultation.
Jon Sipes helps clients with disability appeals throughout Texas including El Paso, Alpine, Amarillo, Lubbock, Marfa, Midland, and Odessa.
This information included on these pages does not constitute legal advice and should be used as such. They are for informational purposes only.