Over the last 20 years, applications for Social Security Disability have more than doubled. Over the same span, the award rate has steadily declined — only one-third of claimants (35 percent) ultimately succeed. It is more important than ever to hire a lawyer who can shepherd your case through this complex system.JP Law has successfully represented clients at the hearing level and beyond. Our experienced lawyers pursue both administrative appeals and federal court appeals of Social Security Disability claim denials. When the appeals process runs its course, we regularly represent clients in filing new SSD and SSI claims.
Experienced Lawyers For The Disability Appeals Process
Law partners Lisa Porter and Melissa Kenney have decades of collective experience in Social Security Disability (SSD) law. The deeper your claim goes into the process, the more their knowledge and skills will factor in the outcome:
Initial application — Approximately 70 percent of claims are denied at this stage, even with an attorney's involvement.
Reconsideration — The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review the denial of benefits, including any updated records, but approximately 90 percent of reconsidered claims are denied again.
By now several months have passed. At this stage, you should definitely hire an attorney who focuses in Social Security Disability law.
ALJ hearing — The hearing level offers the best odds of winning disability benefits. An administrative law judge (ALJ) will listen to your testimony, consider the evidence in your medical files and rule up or down on your claim. Because we handle our own appeals, we purposely address issues in the hearing that might be grounds for appealing an adverse ruling.
Appeals Council — If the hearing judge rules against you, we can appeal to a panel of SSA judges to review your case. The Appeals Council can grant benefits or send the case back for a re-hearing, but most of the time it upholds the ALJ decision.
The Appeals Council is the highest authority within the Social Security Administration. Once the administrative process is exhausted, the only recourse is the federal court system.
Federal Court — This is actually a federal trial court, but our attorneys treat it as if it were a true appeal. We prepare a brief that outlines your disabilities and the errors in the ALJ decision. There is no hearing or new evidence, just the federal judge's consideration of our written arguments and the SSA's response.
Court of Appeals — If the federal court does not overrule the SSA's decision, the last resort is an appeal before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both of our attorneys have successfully argued in the Court of Appeals.
JP Law stands apart from most Social Security Disability lawyers in this arena. Few other disability firms handle their own appeals, instead handing the case off to an appellate lawyer. In addition to our brief-writing skills and appellate court experience, our advantage is that we know the claimant personally, and we are intimately familiar with every piece of evidence and every ruling and counterargument along the way.
Appealing Versus Starting A New Claim
By the time your case reaches the Appeals Council or federal court, at least two or three years have passed since your initial application. As heartbreaking as it may seem to start over, this may be the best or only choice. The SSA allows you to file a new application if you have been denied at the hearing level, if you have new impairments or if your original condition is worse. (After such a long time, this is very often the case.)
We will help you prepare and submit the new application for benefits, which will be very well-documented from your journey through the process. Our legal team will do everything we can to get you approved for benefits at the earliest stage.
A Denied Claim Is Not The End
Our experienced Social Security Disability appeals lawyers in Portland Oregon, Washington, California, and Hawaii offer a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your case. Call or contact us online. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless we win your case.