When an individual finds him or herself either physically or mentally disabled they can apply for disability benefits. Making an application does not guarantee automatic approval, as a matter of fact about three quarters of all first applications are denied. The fact that the application is denied is not really a hurdle as there are a number of stages in the guaranteed appeals process. In some, but not all states, the first step in the appeal is to simply ask for a reconsideration of the decision, in most cases this fails as well. The second step is to appeal to an administrative law judge. This level of appeal invariably requires the aid of an attorney as the submission of additional data and the cross-examination of government expert occupational and medical witnesses can be very confusing for a layperson. In many cases approval is granted by the administrative law judge after he or she has reviewed the case.

In some cases the administrative law judge denies the claim as well, in this case you can elevate the application to the appeals council. In the first two levels of appeal the merits of a claim are taken into account, at the level of the appeals council this is not the case. The appeals council simply determines whether or not the administrative law judge made an error.

If the appeals council agrees with the findings of the ALJ they too will deny the claim. Fortunately this is not the end of the process; there are still things that can be done including Social Security civil actions in Chicago. You can also abandon your claim or file over but neither of these options are good choices, appealing to the United States federal district court is by far the best alternative.

It must be understood that the SSA cannot nor will they assist you in preparing for a district court appeal, furthermore, a non-attorney cannot make the claim, he or she must be represented by an attorney. The attorney is responsible for preparing a written brief and filing it with the court, the brief explains why the SSA erred when they denied the applicant benefits.

As with the initial stages of the appeals process, there is no way to pre-determine how long Social Security civil actions in Chicago will take, deadlines do not exist with the SSA but you can certainly expect the process to take several months.


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