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How do I request a disability hearing?

Suffering a disability, either through injury or illness, can make your life very difficult. You likely will not be able to work, will have trouble caring for yourself, will have trouble earning an income for your family and much more. What makes matters worse is that a large percentage of initial disability claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but you can request a disability hearing in front of a judge to have your case heard further.

A disability hearing can only be requested when you have already appealed the decision of the SSA to deny you disability benefits once before. This means that your reconsideration appeal has been denied and a hearing is the next possible step to obtain benefits.

Requesting a disability hearing can be done online using an electronic form on SSA.gov or by filing a paper form with your local Social Security office. The hearing is eventually held in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

There is a deadline to request a hearing after a reconsideration has been denied. You only have 60 days to make a request (and an additional five days if mailing the request). The time to file a request for a hearing begins with the date printed on the reconsideration denial letter.

You can submit a request beyond the deadline, but it will require a valid excuse. For example, maybe you were in the hospital, aren't of proper mental capacity to understand the letter or have another good reason for the delay. Missing the deadline means starting your initial claim all over.

When the time comes to request a disability hearing, make sure you have legal representation. You don't want to make any mistakes that could lead to the denial of a hearing -- nor do you want your case dismissed permanently by the SSA.

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Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, S.C.
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