Denied Social Security Disability Benefits in California

If you’ve applied for and been denied Social Security Disability benefits in California, you’re probably worried. You’ve spent years paying into the system and now it appears to be letting you down. What can you do if you’re unable to work and your application for benefits has been refused?

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has an appeals process in place. Most applications are rejected the first time, and with each stage of appeal, your chances of being approved goes up. This article will explain what you should do upon receiving a denial letter, how to appeal, and how a disability lawyer can make a positive difference in the outcome of your claim.

Filing An Appeal For Social Security Disability Benefits In California

If you have been denied disability benefits after the initial application, you can make a request for reconsideration within 60 days of the date on the letter. During this first stage of appeal, an SSA representative who wasn't involved with your original claim will review it and make a decision. A hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) is the next step if the application is denied.

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California ALJ Disability Hearings

When a request for reconsideration is denied, administrative law judges (ALJs) hold disability appeal hearings to determine if one's medical condition is impeding their ability to work. Unlike traditional court proceedings where a jury is present, the ALJ has sole discretion in deciding whether or not to approve a disability application. Hearings are conducted at the nearest Office of Hearings Operations (OHO).

California Office of Hearing Operations Locations

There are 25 hearing offices in the San Francisco Region, which handles appeals and applications for Social Security Disability benefits in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Utah, and Oklahoma. There are 19 offices within California itself, located in the following cities:

  • San Francisco RO
  • Fresno HO
  • Long Beach HO
  • Los Angeles (Downtown) HO
  • Los Angeles (West) HO
  • Moreno Valley HO
  • Norwalk HO
  • Oakland HO
  • Orange HO
  • Pasadena HO
  • Richmond NCAC
  • Sacramento HO
  • San Bernardino HO
  • San Diego HO
  • San Francisco HO
  • San Jose HO
  • San Rafael HO
  • Santa Barbara HO
  • Stockton HO

The majority of disability appeals are approved at the ALJ level. You may appeal to the SSA Appeals Council if your case is an exception. In the event that the Appeals Council declines to review your case, you must then appeal to the US District Court, which is the final stage in the process. You'll definitely want to consider working with a California Social Security Disability benefits lawyer once the appeals process begins, as it can be complex and stressful and you need your benefits sooner rather than later.

Get Help With Your California SSD Appeal

The California Social Security Disability benefits program can help you meet your family's living expenses while ensuring you have access to medical care when you are not able to work. Appealing is not an easy process, however, and working with an attorney may make a big difference in the outcome.

Fill out the Free Case Evaluation today to get in touch with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website and takes cases in California.

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