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You Were Denied Disability Benefits, What Should You do Next?

Don’t Miss the Deadline to Appeal Your SSD Denial

Don’t give up! The Social Security process isn’t always fair or based on common sense, but you can still win your disability claim by appealing.

It can be frustrating and discouraging when the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your disability claim. And while the appeals process can be lengthy and complex, you can still win your claim on appeal.

More than 80 percent of people who apply for disability benefits are denied. But the experienced disability attorneys at Lachman & Gorton want to help you turn your denial into an approval.

Once you file an appeal, there are three levels:

  1. Hearing by an Administration Law Judge (ALJ): These hearings take place in the Social Security Administration’s offices. At this stage, you get to present your evidence before a judge who will issue a ruling. Many cases that go on appeal are won at this level.
  2. Review by Appeals Council: If the ALJ denies your case, you may ask the Appeals Council for a review. At this stage, the Appeals Council may return your case to the ALJ for a new hearing.
  3. Federal Court Review: If you disagree with the Appeals Council decision, you can file a federal lawsuit in Federal District Court. You must have an attorney admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court in New York to represent you at this level. There are very few attorneys who either have the proper credentials or are willing to take your case to the United States Federal District Courts.

Such cases are very complex and there are many representatives who will take a case to the Administrative Law Judge and even to the Appeals Council, but won’t take a case to the United States Federal District Court.

We look very carefully at every case to see if there is a significant opportunity that your case will succeed at the Federal District Court level and welcome the opportunity to review your case if you have been denied at the Appeals Council and don’t have an attorney willing to take your case to the Federal District Court.

Don’t Wait to File Your Appeal!

It’s very important to note that in almost all cases, Social Security (with a few exceptions) only allows you 60 days to file your appeal. These time limits can be very, very strictly enforced although normally five additional days are given for mailing and receipt of the prior decision.

No matter what step you’re at in the appeals process, you are highly advised to get legal help. If your claim was denied, your case isn’t over; contact us for a free case evaluation.


If you received a denial letter from Social Security at any stage of your case, the clock is ticking. You only have 60 days to file your appeal. Don’t miss this important deadline!

Your hearing is often the most critical stage in your case. This hearing before the Administrative Law Judge is the best chance to present your evidence in person. It’s very important that you and your evidence are fully prepared. If you’ve received a denial letter, we strongly recommend you call us for help.

Our Experienced Disability Attorneys are Here to Help You with Your Appeal

Social Security’s own statistics show you have a higher chance of winning disability benefits when you have representation.* At Lachman & Gorton, our disability attorneys will:

  • Prepare your case and set the strategy
  • Analyze your Social Security file
  • Prepare you to testify truthfully, but in a manner that best and most accurately portrays the full extent of the limitations that your impairments impose on your abilities to function
  • Gather all the evidence from your doctors and other medical providers
  • Cross-examine any medical and vocational experts at your hearing.

Working with an Attorney can Improve Your Odds of Winning Benefits

Social Security’s own statistics show you have a higher chance of winning disability benefits when you have representation. Since you pay no attorney’s fees if you don’t win benefits, the decision to get legal help is an easy one.

Your best chance to win benefits before the Administrative Law Judge, before the Appeals Council or before the United States Federal District Court is by working with an attorney. Your attorney should be familiar with the local practices and familiar with the Social Security Law to help you present your case to the Administrative Law Judge, the Appeals Council or the United States Federal District Court.

Contact our office now for a free telephone evaluation of your claim.

*Congressional testimony provided by Congressman Robert T. Matsui of California in November 2001.

When I came to Lachman & Gorton for my Social Security case, I had been seeking benefits for close to 10 years and had not received any money from Social Security.

Peter Gorton stayed with my case writing numerous letters to the Social Security Administration and even starting an action in the United States Federal District Court to compel Social Security to obey the judge’s order and finally after years of getting nowhere, I was awarded all of my past benefits and continuing benefits.

I recommend Lachman & Gorton.

Patricia Dumond
National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives
United States District Court of Northern and Western Districts
Broome County Bar Association