Most experts will tell you that your best chance of having your Social Security claim accepted is during your hearing before an administrative law judge. However, you don’t need to give up on your claim just because the hearing doesn’t go in your favor. Administrative law judges can and do make wrong calls. Your next step after your hearing is to request a review of the administrative law judge’s decision. You do that by filling out and filing Form HA-520.
The form itself is not difficult to fill out. However, you should strongly consider having a Social Security lawyer help you with it, especially if you don’t already having a lawyer working on your claim. A lawyer who is experienced in dealing with the Social Security Administration can improve your chances of having the hearing decision overturned.
Here’s how to fill out Form HA-520, section by section:
- In this section, you fill out the claimant’s name and Social Security Number. The “claimant” is the disabled person, even if the one filing the claim is someone different.
- If the claimant is the wage earner and is eligible for Social Security benefits based on his or her own work, leave this blank. If you are filing for disability benefits based on someone else’s eligibility (as in the case of a widow or orphan), fill in the wage earner’s name.
- Fill this section in if you have a different claim number.
- Fill this section out, clearly stating why you believe the ALJ’s determination was wrong and why you should be approved for disability benefits. It can’t be stated strongly enough that you would benefit from having a Social Security lawyer help you with this part of the process. Should you choose to do it yourself, make sure that any medical disabilities you have are stated in terms of how they hinder you from carrying out daily activities and would hinder you from working. Don’t just write in a medical diagnosis without any explanation regarding how it will stop you from working. Don’t hesitate to use extra paper as the space given on the form is very short.
- Fill this section out with your personal information and sign it.
- If you don’t have a representative, leave this section blank. If you do, your representative will fill it out.
You will want to include any additional evidence that you have. Given how long it takes for the various stages of the Social Security disability process, it’s not unusual for claimants to have doctor’s visits in between. Include any information obtained. You may also want to have a Social Security lawyer look over what you’ve already turned in to see if there is any medical evidence which could have been included previously but wasn’t or if there is a different way to better present the evidence.