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FAQ About Appeals

To assist your understanding of the important issues related to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, below are answers to questions frequently asked by claimants.

Common Questions

Q.Do You Appeal All Types of Denials?

A. No. We only appeal medical denials. We do not appeal excess income, resource or asset denials. We do not appeal offset issues such as worker’s compensation offsets, general relief paybacks or other financial issues.

Q.Can You Help Me with Paperwork?

A. Of course. We will help you with all the appeal paperwork except questionnaires and third party statements that are sent to you by the state agency. Those must be completed by you.

Q.Do I Have to Be Seeing Doctors to Apply?

A. If you are not seeing doctors you cannot prove disability. You must start seeing doctors to have medical evidence of your disabilities.

Q.Can You Help Me with My Medical Benefits?

A. Medical benefits – medicare and/or medi-cal- are awarded to you when your claim is approved. We do not provide doctors or therapists for you. You can obtain free medical care at county medical centers.

Q.Do I Have to File a Claim First or Wait for a Denial and Then Call for an Appointment?

A. Call us first and we may file your application for you. If you have already filed a claim we can let social security know that you have retained us to represent you.

Q.Does Your Office File Appeals at Federal Court?

A. Yes.

Q.Is It True That Everyone Is Denied the First Time by Social Security?

A. Mostly!

Q.My Spouse Died Can I Apply for Widow’s Benefits?

A. If you meet certain social security criteria.

Q. Are My Children Entitled Also?

A. Only if they are dependant natural children and meet the social security criteria.

Q.My Spouse Died but I Already Receive Benefits. Can I Get Their Disability?

A. Social security will determine if you get more benefits from your spouse’s account or your own. You must ask the SSA (1-800- 772-1213).

Q.My Condition Is Terminal so Can I Get Approved Faster?

A. Yes if you have medical records proving the status of your condition.

Q.How Long Does It Take to Process an Appeal?

A. At any stage it can take twelve months or much longer. Some stages of the appeal process can take longer than a year. Our office has no control over the appeal times.

Q.How Long Does the Process Take?

A. The entire process from application to a final award of benefits can take two years or longer unless you are approved at the initial stage.

Q.If I Have a Claim Pending Can I File a New Claim?

A. No

Q.Do You Take Cases out of California?

A. No. But if you move out of state while you are a client we may follow your case to your new location.

Q.They Said My Benefits Will Run out in a Few Months and That I Am Not Disabled Anymore.

A. This is a cessation case. You will be scheduled for a cessation disability review at your local social security office. You will need to obtain your medical records and submit them to the hearing officer.

Q.I Was on Benefits Before I Was Incarcerated so Can You Help Me Get Back on Benefits?

A. Yes. We can file a new application for you.

Q.I Have Been Denied Four times so Can You Help Me?

A. Yes. We can file a new application for you.

Q.I Just Moved from Another State and I Have a Disability Claim. Do I Have to Start a New One?

A. No. You can contact your local social security office and inform them of your move. Their computers can be updated and your case transferred to your new location.

Q.Will My Children Qualify If I Am Approved?

A. Yes if they meet the social security’s criteria.

Q.What Happens after an Appeal Is Requested?

A. We wait for a social security determination before moving on to the next stage.

Q.I Do Not Know the Status of My Claim. Can You Call the Ssa to Get That Information?

A. If you sign a retainer agreement and an appointment of representative [1696] with our office, we can obtain that information. Otherwise you can call the ssa at 1-800-772- 1213 and request the information. We will need proof of the status of your claim before we accept your case.

Q.Can You Help Me with an Appeals Council Denial?

A. Yes we can help. We will review this denial and your hearing decision to determine if there are appealable issues for a federal court case.

Q.What If My Case Is Pending a Decision with the Appeals Council?

A. As soon as the appeals council sends you a decision, let us know and we will evaluate your case for further action.

Q.Can I Reopen a Claim I Didn’t Appeal and Still Get Back Pay?

A. If you have an existing claim, it is possible to reopen a prior claim if it meets certain social security guidelines.

Q.Can You File My Appeal?

A. Yes, if your claim is within the appeal period.

Q.I Missed My Deadline and I Had to Write a Reason for Late Filing. Now Its’ Pending. Can You Take My Claim?

A. We will review your claim and your reason for late filing and see if we can assist you.

Q.Can I Close My Case If I Get Better?

A. Yes, but we want to make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits during the period you were disabled.