Denied Social Security Disability claims happen more often than most people think or want to believe. This is not because the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not want to provide assistance for legitimate claims; it is a defense mechanism against fraud. Unless an application if perfectly complete and error-free, the chances that it will be denied at the first attempt are quite high.
In Indiana, the initial claim is filed and coursed through the state’s Disability Determination Service Bureau (DDS). When a claim is denied, there are four steps that the claimant can take to appeal the DDS’s decision.
The first step in the appeal process is reconsideration, where the claimant formally requests the DDS to have a claims examiner review the case. Again, these requests have a low probability of achieving the desired result. If the reconsideration part is a bust, you can request that an administrative law judge of the SSA to be assigned to hear your case right in Indiana in one of the hearing offices, where you will be allowed to bring in witnesses to strengthen your case, as well as a claim appeal lawyer. This last accommodation would be advisable as a knowledgeable legal representative would be able to bring up relevant points that may not occur to you.
The third step in the Social Security Disability claim appeal would be the Appeals Council, which would only be considered if there was an error in the claim procedure or the decision to deny had an incorrect basis. The hearing offices for this would also be in several locations Indiana.
The last resort for a claim appeal in Indiana would be to file a lawsuit at the federal level. This can be accomplished with the help of a lawyer by bringing the case before either the Northern or Southern District Courts in Indiana.
To avoid having to go through this lengthy claim appeal process, it would be best to engage a lawyer in Indiana with a deep understanding of how to correctly make an SSD claim from the get go.