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Claim Your Disability Benefits: What Do I Need For My Social Security Disability Appeal?

At Marken Law Group, PS, we assist applicants through all stages of the Social Security disability appeal process, from initial denial to the Appeals Council and beyond. Knowing what you need for your Social Security disability appeal is crucial as it significantly impacts your chances of securing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Gathering the necessary information and documentation for your appeal can improve your likelihood of receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Initial and Reconsideration Stages for Social Security Disability Benefits

At the initial and reconsideration stages, you can complete an appeal to the SSA with our office OVER THE PHONE in under 1 hour.

For Initial Determination, you can apply for disability benefits online. In this application, the SSA will ask for information about your condition, basic information about yourself, recent work, and more. Within an hour, we can guide you through the phone to help you understand the requirements if needed. 

If your initial determination is rejected, you can appeal their decision by filling out a Request Reconsideration Form on their website. On this page, you can request a reconsideration for a disability claim or non-medical issue. We will be happy to guide you through the phone to help clarify questions and allow you to give optimal answers about your condition.

For non-medical issues, your appeal for reconsideration doesn’t have to affect your SSDI and SSI benefits. They can continue if you file for reconsideration within ten days. If you file for reconsideration in 11-60 days, the payment will temporarily decrease until the reconsideration process is finished.

Those who want the cessation of their disability benefits to be reconsidered can print, fill out, and submit a form for SSA-789 (Request for Reconsideration Disability Cessation).

Appealing a decision for your case is relatively quick at the initial and reconsideration stages. In these stages, you must have the following:

Why You Should Keep on Appealing

It’s a fact, as reported by USAFacts, that only 15% of applications submitted in the reconsideration stage are approved. However, armed with this knowledge and our expertise in Social Security law, we strongly advocate for you to continue to the next stage of the appeal process: having a hearing before the administrative law judge (ALJ).

In this process, the ALJ must review your records and meet you or your representative to avoid any errors, faulty estimations, or misinterpretations that may have occurred during the initial and reconsideration stages. As the hearing allows you to claim your benefits, it is best to be prepared.

Your Hearing Before the Administrative Law Judge: Make Preparation

You can request a hearing online within 60 days of receiving your reconsideration notice. While you continue treatment with your medical doctors, Social Security will send you many more items if an attorney does not represent you. 

Social Security will send you multiple forms while you wait for your hearing to be scheduled, which you MUST fill out correctly. 

These forms include but are not limited to the following. It is vital to know what you are signing and why.

Objection or Waiver to Video Teleconference Hearing (VTC)

This form allows you to state your objection to a hearing via video teleconference. If you do not object to a VTC hearing within 30 days, the SSA will schedule a video teleconference hearing for your Social Security disability appeal. As experienced disability attorneys, we do not recommend agreeing to a VTC hearing. Having an in-person hearing can significantly impact the outcome of your SSDI and SSI claim, as it allows for a more direct interaction with the ALJ.

Authorization to Release Medical Information Form

Having your most updated medical records available for review is essential for your Social Security disability appeal. This authorization form allows the SSA to obtain your medical records. Without providing this authorization, the SSA is unlikely to access any of your prior medical records. Attending your SSDI or SSI hearing without this crucial objective medical evidence can jeopardize your disability claim, especially if you are unrepresented.

SSA Work History Report

The work history report records the person’s occupations for the last 15 years before injury. This report is vital in the SSDI or SSI hearing to determine disability. This is especially true for people 50 and older, as skill transferability between vocations becomes more complex and job options decrease.

Disability Report

Your disability report contains all your medical conditions that cause your disability and symptoms. Ideally, it should also have questionnaires completed by your treating physicians/mental health counselors attesting to the disabling nature of your condition.

A CD with Your Exhibits in File and More

This requirement can include scanned files of medicine receipts, photographs of injuries, and even videos showing your limitations on daily activities, such as going up or down the stairs.

How an Attorney Appeals Your Case to Your Favor in the Hearing's Decision

If you are headed to a hearing, the most significant preparation is knowing what the judge will ask to determine your claim. To best prepare for these questions, you should have an attorney well-versed in your specific judge.

You or your representing attorney must have a COMPLETE physical and/or mental health list of those who have treated you a year before you even applied/determined you were disabled. 

The judge determining your claim MUST base their decision on the medical records provided. 

Therefore, the more updated your medical record, the better suited you will be for hearing.

Marken Law Group, PS, represents claimants at all levels of their Social Security Disability appeal in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and California. We can help you today on all stages of the appeals process! If you don’t get benefits from us, you don’t get a fee! Call or text for your free consultation today.