When you are injured or diagnosed with a serious illness and unable to return to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. You paid into the Social Security Administration program while employed, so you have the right to seek benefits when disabled.
Unfortunately, many eligible individuals apply for Georgia Social Security disability benefits, but only a small percentage are approved upon initial application. While a denied disability application can be appealed, you'll need to act fast and understand your options. This article explains the Social Security Disability appeals process in Georgia and how a disability lawyer can help you win the benefits you need.
If your initial application for disability benefits is denied, you can file a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of the date on the denial letter. A different SSA examiner will review your claim and make a decision. Should that decision be a denial, your next step is to request an administrative law judge (ALJ) to hear your disability appeal.
If your reconsideration is denied and you disagree with the reasons for the denial, you can request an ALJ hearing online. The review is conducted by an administrative law judge who was not involved in the application or reconsideration process. Hearings are conducted at the nearest Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) within 75 miles of where you live. The ALJ will review your case and determine whether you were wrongfully denied.
With 40 offices, the Atlanta Region handles disability applications and appeals for Social Security Disability benefits in Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee. There are seven offices in Georgia, located in the following cities:
- Atlanta RO
- Atlanta (Downtown) HO
- Atlanta (North) HO
- Augusta PU
- Covington HO
- Macon HO
- Savannah HO
If you are still denied benefits after the ALJ hearing, you can request a review by the SSA's Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review each request, but if they believe the decision at your hearing was lawful and justified, they might deny it. If they decide to review your case, they will either do it themselves or turn the matter over to an administrative law judge. In the event the Appeals Council does not review your case or if it decides that you are not eligible for benefits, the last step is to file a civil suit in federal court.
Social Security Disability appeals in Georgia can be complicated and distressing, especially if you keep being denied at each level. Besides having to provide further evidence of your medical condition and how it disables you, you are also forced to deal with rejections and wait a long time, often a year or more, for an answer.
It’s a difficult situation that can be made easier by retaining a SSD lawyer. Their goal is to win the benefits you need to access medical care and living expenses, and they don’t get paid unless they win your case. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation today to get in touch with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website and helps Georgia claimants.