You may not agree with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) initial decision to deny your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits application. Rest assured, you may be granted a second chance with an appeal. But if you choose this route, you must be prepared to have to attend hearings and such. Continue reading to learn whether your SSDI appeal requires a court appearance and how an experienced New Jersey SSDI appeals lawyer at The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur can stand by your side throughout.

Does my SSDI benefits appeal require a court appearance?

Firstly, your appeal must be filed in writing and submitted by mail or in person to any Social Security Office. This must be done within 60 days from the date on which your initial notice of denied SSDI benefits was received. Your petition may prompt the appeals process to commence. Of note, there are four levels in the appeals process, with most requiring a court appearance.

The first level is reconsideration. Here, an officer other than the one who made the original decision on your application will do a complete review of it. Unfortunately, the approval rate at the reconsideration level is low. This means that it is likely for you to enter the second level of appeal.

The second level of appeal requires a hearing in the presence of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This may allow you to present your case in person, where you may demonstrate additional evidence that you meet the SSA’s eligibility criteria. But if you still disagree with the hearing decision, then you may appear in front of an appeals council.

Upon hearing your case, the appeals council may issue its own decision, remand it to the ALJ to issue another decision, or allow the ALJ’s decision to stand. So if the ALJ’s decision is still upheld, you have one last chance by appearing in front of a federal court. This fourth level of appeal requires filing a civil suit in a federal district court.

Why should I have a lawyer accompany me at my hearings?

While it may seem as though you are granted a generous amount of chances to appeal the initial decision on your SSDI benefits application, these chances are going to run out eventually. What’s more, even with all these chances, the probability of the initial decision being overturned is still slim to none.

This is all to say that you must not take these chances for granted. Rather, you should have a lawyer accompany you at all your court appearances. This is especially true if you have never undergone any sort of legal proceedings beforehand. On the contrary, a lawyer has years of experience in doing just that.

We strongly believe that having legal representation from a skilled New Jersey SSDI appeals lawyer is the best fit for your hearings. So please get in touch with The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur as soon as you can.