Bethlehem Lawyer for Social Security Disability Appeals

Following a hearing with the Social Security Administration, (SSA), eligible claimants may have some questions. Here is a guide:

Once my case is approved, how will I be notified of the decision?

Your hearing decision should be sent to both you and your attorney within weeks of the hearing, unless the Administrative Law Judge has granted additional time after the hearing to submit additional evidence. You should call your attorney to advise her when you receive your decision, so that in the event of error by SSA the attorney can become fully aware of the decision and any deadlines that may apply. The judge does not have a deadline of time to make a decision, but most are made within a very short time of the hearing. If you do not receive a decision promptly, you should not call the judge's office . Call your attorney.

How and when will my payments come after the hearing?

Benefits are paid electronically, and you should provide a checking account number to SSA if you have not done so at application. You may also use the Direct Express card program. The date of disability onset indicated by the judge will determine the months for which you are eligible for benefits. The judge is not required to grant benefits back to the date you said you became disabled, but he or she can determine that your disability began on a different date. Your benefits are calculated accordingly.

Usually, benefits are calculated and payments are issued within four weeks of the decision date. If you received Worker's Compensation or if you worked during the eligible period, you will be asked to provide proof of your benefits because these sums may affect the amount of entitlement.

  • If you received cash welfare benefits during the time period for which you are granted Social Security disability or SSI, you may be required to repay the cash. In such cases, the repayment is usually deducted before benefits are issued to you.
  • If you received private long term disability benefits for the time period for which you are granted Social Security disability benefits, you may be required by the insurance plan to repay benefits. You should check with your insurance provider for this information, to ensure that you obtain a prompt statement of your obligation. Often, the insurance carrier will credit your account for the amount you pay for legal fees to obtain Social Security benefits.
  • If you are entitled to SSI only, and not disability benefits based upon your earnings record, your benefits will be paid in three installments over an eighteen month period. If you have urgent and necessary bills, you may be able to request faster issuance of the past due benefits. Talk to your attorney if you have overdue rent, utilities, taxes, or if you have urgent medical or personal needs for which you need the cash. You may qualify for additional and earlier payments.
  • In cases where SSI is awarded (benefits not based upon your earnings record), your household composition and other income in the home can affect your benefits. Also, your financial arrangements within the household can affect the amount you are entitled to receive. Your benefits can be reduced if you are not required to pay a fair share of the household expenses.

If my case is not approved after a hearing, what happens next?

Your case may be appealed to the next level, which is the Appeals Council. This step does not involve another hearing, as the Appeals Council judges review the record of testimony and medical evidence to determine if an error was made. If a legal or factual error was made, the case can be reversed, or it can be sent back (remanded) for another hearing.

If a new hearing is granted, you have the opportunity to present additional evidence and arguments. If the Appeals Council does not agree that an error was made, your case can be appealed to the Federal District Court. I am an experienced litigator at all levels of Social Security claims, and I will analyze the case to determine if it can be appealed to the next level.

If my case is denied, can I file a new claim for benefits?

Yes, a new claim for benefits is sometimes filed if you have been denied disability benefits, especially if you have a worsened health condition or a new development. If a new claim is filed, the first claim can still be pursued. Each case is different, and the best advice will be determined case by case.

Pennsylvania and Bethlehem Attorney for Social Security Disability Appeals

To learn more, please call 610-866-9220 today.  Our fees are reasonable and offered on a contingency basis: no charge unless approved.