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.