At Disability Advocates Group, we understand the frustration and financial hardship that can follow a denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim in Fort Lauderdale. But here’s the good news: a denial doesn’t have to be the end of the road. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers an appeals process that allows you to challenge the initial decision.

When to Appeal an SSDI or SSI Decision in Fort Lauderdale:

You should consider filing an appeal if the SSA:

  • Denies your initial application for SSDI or SSI benefits.
  • Terminates your existing SSDI benefits.
  • Reduces your monthly SSDI benefit amount.

The Appeals Process for SSDI and SSI Claims in Fort Lauderdale:

The appeals process involves several stages:

  • Reconsideration: This is the first level of appeal, where the SSA re-reviews your original application with a fresh set of eyes.
  • Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If your reconsideration is denied, you have the right to a hearing before an ALJ. Here, you can present evidence and arguments to support your disability claim.
  • Appeals Council Review: If you disagree with the ALJ’s decision, you can request a review by the Appeals Council in Falls Church, Virginia.
  • Federal Court Lawsuit: As a last resort, you can file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the SSA’s decision.

Where to File Your SSDI or SSI Appeal in Fort Lauderdale:

You can initiate the appeals process by mail, phone, or online at the SSA website: https://www.ssa.gov/

Alternatively, you can also contact the SSA directly in Fort Lauderdale.  The SSA field office for Fort Lauderdale is located at:

  • Address: 299 East Broward Boulevard, Suite 1300, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
  • Phone: (954) 356-7901

Time Limits for Filing Appeals

  • Reconsideration: It’s crucial to act quickly! You only have 60 days from the date you receive your denial notice to file a request for reconsideration.
  • Hearing: If your reconsideration is denied, you have 60 days from the date you receive that notice to request a hearing before an ALJ.

What Happens After You File an Appeal?

  • Reconsideration: The timeframe for a reconsideration decision can vary, but it typically takes several months.

    Hearing: The wait time for an ALJ hearing can also vary depending on the backlog in your area. The average wait time for a hearing in Fort Lauderdale was 8.3 months, with an average case processing time of 303 days. It’s important to be prepared to present strong medical evidence and persuasive arguments during the hearing.

Success Rates of Appeals in Fort Lauderdale

Nationally, the average success rate for appeals heard before an ALJ is around 50-65%. In Fort Lauderdale, the approval rate at SSDI/SSI hearings in 2022 was 50.2%.  This highlights the importance of having a qualified disability attorney represent you throughout the appeals process.

What Happens if Your Appeal is Successful?

If your appeal is successful at any stage, you will receive retroactive benefits for the period between your initial application date and the approval date of your appeal.

What Happens if Your Appeal is Denied?

Fortunately, an appeal denial doesn’t mean there are no further options. An experienced attorney at Disability Advocates Group can review your case and advise you on the best course of action, which may include requesting a review by the Appeals Council or filing a federal court lawsuit.

Why You Need a Disability Attorney for Your SSDI or SSI Appeal in Fort Lauderdale

The Social Security disability appeals process can be complex and lengthy. A skilled attorney at Disability Advocates Group can:

  • Gather Medical Evidence: We can help you compile a comprehensive medical record that clearly documents your disability and its impact on your ability to work.
  • Prepare for the Hearing: We will guide you through the hearing process, develop persuasive arguments, and ensure you are well-prepared to present your case before the ALJ.
  • Navigate the Appeals Process: We can handle all the paperwork and communication with the SSA, ensuring you meet deadlines and navigate the complexities of the appeals system.

If you’ve been denied SSDI or SSI benefits in Fort Lauderdale, don’t hesitate to contact Disability Advocates Group. We understand the challenges you face and are committed to helping you secure the financial support you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your appeal and explore your options.