The Social Security Disability Benefits Appeals Process

How many levels of disability benefits appeals are available to applicants?

As Arizona Social Security disability attorneys know, persistence can pay off—especially in the world of Social Security benefits appeals.

Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits is a complex, often difficult, and time-consuming process. Not only must an applicant fit the federal government’s definition of being “disabled” by suffering from a recognized physical and/or mental disability, but their application must pass muster or it will be denied. In fact, 2/3 of all initial Social Security disability benefits applications are denied, which is a primary reason many people trust their application to an attorney that specializes in these matters.

Hiring a skilled disability benefits appeals attorney is wise especially since the current wait time for an appeal hearing is averaging two years in many states. Sadly, applicants are literally exhausting their savings, becoming homeless, and even dying from their injuries or conditions while their appeals are pending. There are many levels of appeals, each more complex than the others, ending with an appeal on the federal court level.

An inspiring story that perseverance and persistence can pay off involved an Army veteran reportedly suffering from Type 2 diabetes and diabetic neuropathy and a history alcohol abuse who filed his initial disability benefits claim in November, 2012.  He filed appeals that were denied in December 2012, March 2013, and August 2014.

Undeterred, the applicant pursued an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals on the basis that in the August hearing, the “administrative law judge failed to meet his obligations to identify, explain, and resolve an apparent conflict between the testimony of the vocational expert and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles” regarding what if any work the applicant could still perform in light of the limitations of his disability. This time, the court agreed and granted the applicant a new hearing for disability benefits.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for Social Security disability benefits, or appealing the denial of benefits at any stage, the Arizona disability benefits attorneys at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

With offices in Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, we represent clients throughout Arizona in applying for Social Security disability benefits.