Starting an appeal on a disability claim in Texas

To start an appeal on a Social Security Disability or SSI claim in Texas, all you really have to do is contact the Social Security Office. Ideally, you should contact the social security office where you filed your application. Contacting a different SSA field office is not necessarily problematic in and of itself, but you probably want to keep the process as simple as possible.

Appeals can be done online. And if you have representation, the likelihood is that the indvidual representing your disability claim (either a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability representative) will file your appeal forms online. However, if you file the appeal paperwork yourself, you have the option of submitting paper forms or using the online process.

If you file the appeal online, you can print a copy for yourself for your records. If you choose not to use the online process, after you contact the SSA office and notify them you want to start an appeal on your SSDI (Social Security Dsability Insurance) or SSI claim, you should receive a packet in the mail with the appropriate appeal forms. These forms will allow you to indicate any recent medical treatment, new doctors who have treated you, and changes in your disabling condition, as well as any new conditions you may have to report.

If you have a Social Security Lawyer, of course, you should have this individual file your Social Security Disability or SSI appeal for you. For a disability representative or attorney, this is simply part of the routine and, ideally, your lawyer should do this for you simply to ensure that the appeal is done properly and, just as importantly, timely.

Common questions about filing for disability in Texas
Getting the appeal done on-time

One of the most important things to remember when doing an appeal for disability is this: do the appeal timely. SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance) and SSI appeals have a sixty day deadline, from the date of the denial, and the last thing you want to do is miss your dealine to file your appeal timely.

If your miss your appeal deadline, you will, most likely, have to start all over with a brand new SSD or SSI disability application. If you have a valid reason for submitting a late appeal, such as a medical or family emergency, you may be able to qualify for good cause (basically, this means you are granted an excuse for submitting the appeal beyond the deadline), but it is completely up to SSA as to whether or not they will grant this.

Of course, if you have a lawyer or representative handling your claim, they should receive a copy of your disability claim denial around the same you receive your copy (usually, the lawyer will get a copy within 3 days of the claimant receiving theirs). And this fact usually ensures that the appeal will be done on time. But even so, it's a good idea to call your lawyer as soon as you find out you have been denied just in case the lawyer's office does not receive their copy of the notice.

The appeals you are mostly likely to file in Texas

While there are ten prototype states in which an individual who has been denied may immediately file a request for a disability hearing, in Texas the first appeal following the denial of a disability application will be something known as a request for reconsideration. As the articles above indicate, most reconsideration appeals are also denied. The second appeal that follows this appeal is the one involving a Social Security hearing in which a federal ALJ, or administrative law judge, makes the decision on the case.

Information to submit on the appeal

When you submit the request for the second appeal, which is the request for a hearing, there is not necessarily much value in indicating your most recent medical treatment. This is because it will generally take over a year to get a hearing date scheduled. By the time a person actually gets to a hearing, they will, most likely, have received additional treatment.

Generally, the manner in which a judge becomes aware of a claimant's most recent treament is by A) obtaining the most recent medical records and sending them to the hearing right before the hearing or B) allowing the individual representing the disability claim at the hearing to do this. Most representatives will attempt to get all the updated records that are available and most will also attempt to get a solid supporting statement from at least one of the claimant's treating physcians.

On the reconsideration appeal, however, a claimant or their representative, should indicate any additional medical treatment that has been received at the time of filing this appeal. This is important to do because without this information the reconsideration-level examiner may decide to send the claimant to a Social Security medical examination, or simply conclude that the evidence already gathered in the file is sufficient to make a decision (assuming these records are not older than 60 days).

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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