SSD Appeals Process in Erie, Pennsylvania

PA Social Security Disability Appeals Lawyers Help Clients in Erie County, Crawford County, and Across Western Pennsylvania

Because the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies about two-thirds of initial claims for disability benefits, appeals of negative decisions are common. Pennsylvania has streamlined the appeals process somewhat so that disabled workers appealing a negative decision do not have to wait even longer. However, just because the state eliminated a step does not mean that the process is uncomplicated and fast. Most people who appeal their SSD denials hire lawyers to be their advocates during the appeals process.

At the Erie, PA law firm of Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. our injury lawyers help clients file appeals after the SSA denies an initial Social Security Disability claim. Because we know the process so well, we are in a good position to help clients improve their chances of obtaining a favorable outcome and avoid mistakes that could derail their appeals.

The SSD Appeals Process in Pennsylvania

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has streamlined the SSD appeals process, eliminating the “request for reconsideration” step that requires Social Security staff to review the paper file. One reason for this elimination, which has also occurred in other states, is that the reconsideration process did not reverse many negative decisions. The remaining appeals process consists of:

Hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ): Pennsylvania has eight hearing offices where appellants and their lawyers can appear to argue their cases for SSD benefits. Unfortunately, obtaining a hearing date can take a lot of time, often in excess of one year. More than 55 percent of disability hearings in Pennsylvania result in an award of SSD benefits. The hearing requires you to appear in person before the ALJ, who will ask you questions about the evidence of disability and your work history. You can bring witnesses to the hearing who can testify to your inability to work because of your impairment.

Petition the Appeals Council: If you wish to pursue your SSD appeal further, you have 60 days to file an appeal with the Social Security Disability Appeals Council. This body reviews cases after determining that the previous level handled the case incorrectly. Few decisions are overturned at the Appeals Council stage.

File a federal lawsuit: If the Appeals Council declines to take your case or decides unfavorably, the final step of the appeals process is to file a lawsuit in federal court.

Your best chance of having an initial decision overturned is at the ALJ hearing level. Pennsylvania ALJs approve around 40 percent of appeals they hear, which is slightly lower than the national average. Our lawyers will be with you every step of the way, however long it takes.

Contact Our Erie Attorneys About an SSD Appeal in Pennsylvania

To discuss filing a SSD appeal, call our knowledgeable lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. in Erie, PA. You may also use our website’s contact form. We help people file Social Security Disability appeals at all levels of the process.

Personal Injury Case Results


Car accident

At approximately 50 mph, a young woman’s vehicle collided with a truck. Both vehicles were totaled. Client suffered multiple injuries including complex fractures and a myocardial contusion.


Motorcycle Fatality

Client’s husband was killed in a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver. His underinsured motorist carrier originally denied coverage, based on a policy exclusion, and then offered only half the coverage.

Criminal Defense Case Results

Charges Dropped

DUI, Lane violation & Careless driving

Late at night, a driver turned right at a stop light and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic. His BAC was over the legal limit. He was charged with DUI, a lane violation and careless driving.

Not Guilty

Sex Offense

An instructor at a local high school was accused by a student of indecent assault on the last day of school. After four days of trial, the jury acquitted the instructor of all charges.


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  • "There aren't enough words to express how elated we are with the end results Attorney Tim George delivered, he went above and beyond our expectations. Attorney George was always prompt in returning phone calls, straight forward about the facts and extremely empathetic with the horrible situation that our son was facing."

  • "Eric Purchase provided clear, logical guidance. He worked to understand the situation and circumstances (in a complicated matter) in order to provide accurate assessments and recommendations. Thrilled to partner with him. Also appreciated his updates on pertinent matters and professional counseling throughout the entire process."

  • "Craig Murphey handled my personal injury claim. He was extremely professional, but also took a personal interest in helping me through a very difficult process. Everyone in the Purchase, George & Murphey office was very kind and helpful. I would recommend Craig Murphey’s services to anyone who might find themselves in need of a top-notch lawyer."

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Mr. George and his entire office staff were very kind and helping me through my first ever experience with the law. He was able to get me exactly what he said he would in the outcome of my trial. The entire staff was very informative and kept me up to date on everything. Very pleased with my experience and would most definately recommend him to others.

Allison, July 8, 2017