Having your Georgia Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim denied can be frustrating and overwhelming, especially for disabled individuals who are unable to afford even daily living needs like food, clothing and shelter. What many people in Georgia don’t realize is that most initial applications for SSDI and SSI benefits are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In fact, it is estimated that six out of ten applications for SSDI benefits from first-time applicants are rejected by the administration. More importantly though, many denied claims for SSDI or SSI benefits are then approved by the SSA during the appeals process, which is why it is essential that disabled individuals seeking SSDI or SSI benefits are aware of their rights regarding denied claims and appeals in Atlanta. If your Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim has been denied, contact our experienced SSDI or SSI attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak today.

SSDI Benefits vs. SSI Benefits in Georgia

Social Security Disability Insurance provides benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability. In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits however, your disability must be expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months or result in death; you must be under full retirement age (currently 66), and you must have accumulated 20 social security credits in the last ten years prior to the disability. Unlike Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income is based primarily on an individual’s disability, not on his or her contribution to a Social Security insurance program. For those individuals with permanent disabilities who are not eligible for benefits under SSDI, Supplemental Security Income provides financial assistance necessary to cover daily living needs like food, clothing, and shelter. SSI benefits are typically paid to individuals whose disabilities have kept them from ever working or from working enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.

The Social Security Administration Appeals Process

It is the responsibility of the Social Security Administration to ensure that every decision it makes regarding Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claims is correct. Unfortunately, many valid SSDI and SSI claims filed by disabled individuals in Georgia are denied without good reason. When the SSA makes a decision about your SSDI or SSI claim, you will receive a letter explaining the ruling. If you don’t agree with the SSA’s decision, you can appeal, or ask the administration to reconsider your case. The following is important information to consider about the appeals process:

  • If you wish to appeal, you must submit a request either online or in writing within 60 days from the date you receive the letter from the SSA. 
  • There are typically four ways to appeal a rejected disability claim, including reconsideration, hearing by an administrative law judge, review by the Appeals Council and Federal Court review. In general, if you disagree with the reconsideration, you can request a hearing. If you disagree with the decision of the hearing judge, you can request a review by the Appeals Council, and so on.
  • In some instances, you may be able to request that your benefits continue to be paid while the SSA makes a decision on your appeal. You can do so when you are appealing a discontinuation of SSDI benefits because your medical condition is not disabling, or when you are appealing the SSA’s decision that you are no longer eligible for SSI payments or that your SSI payment should be reduced.
  • While some people handle their Social Security appeals on their own, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a qualified SSDI or SSI attorney in Georgia to represent your case. Keep in mind that your representative cannot charge you or collect a fee from you without first getting written approval from the Social Security Administration.

An SSDI or SSI Attorney Can Help

One of the most devastating outcomes of filing an SSDI or SSI claim for critical disability benefits is having your claim denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA), especially if your case is valid. Unfortunately, rejecting disability claims is not an uncommon practice of the SSA, which is why hiring an experienced SSDI or SSI attorney in Georgia to represent you on your case is key. If you are struggling with a disability that prevents you from working and earning an income, contact our skilled SSDI and SSI lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak to explore your compensation options. If your SSDI or SSI claim for benefits has been denied, our attorneys can help you navigate the appeals process to pursue the disability benefits you deserve. Disability, whether temporary or permanent, can not only be physically incapacitating, but can also result in significant financial difficulties, especially for those individuals who are unable to work. With the help of our knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyers, individuals seeking disability benefits in Georgia can protect their legal rights and significantly improve their chances of a favorable outcome from the SSA.

Jaret A. Spevak
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Atlanta Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Attorney With 20+ Years Experience