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SSDI & SSI Appeals

Davenport SSDI & SSI Appeals Lawyers

Highly Effective Legal Help in Davenport, IA & Throughout the midwest

Filing an appeal for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) after a denied claim can be challenging. With high denial rates, understanding the multi-level appeals process and ensuring that all necessary documentation and arguments are meticulously prepared is crucial. 

Our seasoned Davenport appeals lawyers' knowledge, skills, and experience become invaluable at this stage. Our attorneys focus primarily on SSDI and SSI and have the legal acumen necessary to effectively navigate the complexities of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) procedures. 

At Bowman, DePree & Murphy, we can identify and correct any issues that may have led to the initial denial. Our team can compile additional evidence and present a compelling case at hearings. By using our extensive knowledge and experience, we can increase your chances of a successful outcome, helping you secure the benefits you rightfully deserve.

Book a free case assessment with a Davenport SSDI & SSI appeals attorney. You can reach Bowman, DePree & Murphy at (563) 412-4755 or via our online contact form to make an appointment.

Stay In The Know

  • When Should I Apply for Benefits?
    Unless you have an obvious long-term disability, the best time to apply for Social Security disability benefits is 6-9 months after you stop working.
  • When Do You Suggest I Hire a Lawyer?
    Most claimants wait until their claims are denied on reconsideration before hiring a lawyer. Most observers agree this timing works well because it is at a hearing that having a lawyer truly makes a difference.
  • When Am I Likely to Receive a Hearing?
    It can take up to two years from request until a hearing is held and a decision issued, but the time varies from state to state.

The Appeals Process in Social Security Disability

The four levels of administrative adjudication of Social Security claims include:

After this, a case may be filed in federal court. The time limit for most Social Security disability appeals is 60 days from the date of receipt of a decision. Unless contrary evidence exists, you are presumed to receive these decisions within five days. Thus, the effective time limit is 65 days from the decision date.

The only exception to the 65-day effective time limit is when appealing an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denial to the Appeals Council after a federal court remand. The time limit for these appeals is 30 days.

Initial and Reconsideration Determinations

Social Security disability claims (but not SSI) can be completed online or by telephone at an SSA teleservice center. Teleservice center staff make appointments for you with SSA representatives from a local office. You can also go to a local Social Security office to complete an application in person. 

When applying, you will be asked for basic information, which will be entered into a computer application form that will be printed. If it is a telephone interview, the form will be mailed to you for signature, along with other forms to be completed and signed. 

An application for benefits is one of the few forms in a disability case that may not be signed by a lawyer on your behalf unless that lawyer is appointed to do so by a court. However, a lawyer may assist you in filling out the application. 

At the initial and reconsideration levels, the SSA does not make medical disability determinations. Instead, claims are referred to a state government agency contracted with SSA for disability determinations.

At the state agency, a medical doctor and a layman known as a disability examiner typically evaluate claims. The SSA then adopts these determinations.

If you are dissatisfied with the initial determination, you may appeal. In most states, this appeal is a request for reconsideration. If you request reconsideration, a team other than the one that issued the initial determination will make the determination, but the result will probably be the same. Relatively few reconsideration determinations result in an award of benefits. The next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).

The Hearing

After you request a hearing, an attorney advisor (whose job includes writing decisions for ALJs) may review the file, request additional evidence, and conduct an informal prehearing conference (usually by phone with your attorney). 

The attorney advisor may issue a fully favorable decision. If so, the hearing request will be dismissed unless a request to proceed with the hearing is made within 30 days after the attorney advisor's decision date. The Appeals Council, not an ALJ, has the authority to review a decision by an attorney advisor. 

You may appear in person before the ALJ or by video teleconferencing. Evidence may be received, and vocational or medical experts may testify. The hearing is not adversarial. After the hearing, the administrative law judge issues a written decision. 

Differences Between State Agency Determinations and Hearing Decisions

A significant difference exists between the way state agencies evaluate disability and the way ALJs approach the issue. The rule at all levels is that a disability decision cannot be inconsistent with the medical evidence. However, the state agency decision-makers, who have only the cold file to review, seldom look beyond medical findings to consider your actual ability to work. 

At the state agencies, the Listing of Impairments is used much more often as a basis for a favorable decision. Despite several successful lawsuits challenging this, state agency decision-makers tend to use the Listing of Impairments as the unstated basis for a denial, especially for claimants under age 50.

If a younger claimant’s impairment does not meet a Listing, they likely will not be found disabled by the state agency. State agency decision-makers tend to apply specific formulas (found in state agency manuals) to determine residual functional capacity (RFC) for certain medical impairments. This treats all claimants with similar medical findings the same. Few state agency formulas conclude that a claimant can do less than a wide range of sedentary work.

ALJs, on the other hand, tend to view medical findings as setting the parameters for a range of possible RFCs, some of which may lead to a finding of disability. They view their role as evaluating the entire case, including your credibility, to determine which RFC best describes your capacity. ALJs find claimants under the age of 50 disabled much more often than state agency decision-makers.

The chart below was created with a Social Security Administration study of the differences between state agency decisions and ALJ decisions. It shows, for example, that during the period studied, ALJs found claimants with back impairments disabled 75% of the time, while the state agency did so only 11% of the time. The entry for claimants under age 50 with back impairments shows the state agency found them disabled only 2% of the time, while ALJs found them disabled 68% of the time.

State Agency Decisions Data Table

Good Cause for Late Social Security Disability Appeals

If you do not meet the deadline for appealing a denial of your Social Security disability claim, you may ask that the Social Security Administration (SSA) extend the deadline by finding that “good cause” existed for missing the deadline. 

To do so, you must include with your appeal a detailed letter explaining why the request for review of the determination or decision was untimely. Depending on the circumstances, an affidavit from you may be necessary. If SSA finds “good cause” for the delay in appealing, it will extend the time limit. 

At Bowman, DePree & Murphy, we can advise you on providing good cause. 

How Our Law Firm Can Help Clients Navigate the SSDI and SSI Appeals Process

Navigating the intricate SSDI and SSI appeals process can be overwhelming, especially after an initial claim denial. Our law firm is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and legal guidance to help you seek the best possible outcome. 

Here’s how we can help:

  • Thorough case evaluation: Our experienced attorneys can meticulously review your case to identify any issues or missing information that may have contributed to the denial of your initial claim. This evaluation allows us to formulate a strategic plan for your appeal.
  • Document gathering and organization: It is crucial to a successful appeal to ensure that all relevant medical records, personal documentation, and additional evidence are collected and properly organized. We diligently gather and compile all necessary documents to strengthen your case.
  • Detailed appeal preparation: Preparing for an appeal involves more than just paperwork. Our attorneys can guide you through the intricacies of the SSA’s appeal process so that every detail is addressed. This includes crafting a compelling narrative that accurately represents your medical condition and its impact on your ability to work.
  • Representation at hearings: If your case progresses to a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), having a knowledgeable lawyer by your side can significantly improve your chances of success. We can represent you at the hearing, presenting your case effectively and addressing any questions or concerns the ALJ raises.
  • Continuous communication: Throughout the appeals process, we maintain open lines of communication, keeping you informed about the progress of your case and any new developments. We work to give you peace of mind by keeping you up-to-date and well-prepared.
  • Aggressive advocacy: Our Davenport SSDI and SSI appeal attorneys are committed to fighting for your rights and can advocate aggressively. Whether negotiating with SSA representatives or presenting your case in front of an ALJ, we use our extensive knowledge to aim for a favorable outcome.

By partnering with our law firm, you gain access to a team of dedicated professionals who understand the complexities of the SSDI and SSI appeals process. 

Contact us today at (563) 412-4755 to book a free consultation and take the next step toward securing the benefits you deserve.

Hear From Our Happy Clients

See Why We Will Make a Difference for Your Case & Get You the Rights You Deserve.
    "I cannot say enough positive things about having Thad Murphy as my disability lawyer."
    He walked me thru each step of the process and made sure everything was in order and ready for my appeal. I spoke to many different lawyers before I decided to go with Mr. Murphy and I think it was one of the most important decisions I ever made.
    - Tim S.
    "I could never have done it again or been successful without Mr. Murphy's help.& dedication to his clients."
    I tried 10+ years to get my disability only to be told No over and over. I was frustrated, worried, and tired of trying & fighting only to be told NO yet again. A friend told me about Bowman, DePree & Murphy in Davenport. I'd heard the name in pass
    - Charity M.
    "I can now rest my head."
    I just like to thank you Michael Dupree for being my savior which has changed my life for the better unfortunately disability is a part now but thanks to you.
    - Nathaniel L.
    "Great Disability attorney! My decision to work with Mr. Thad Murphy was life changing, at the right time."
    Mr. Murphy was able to get my disability on the first appeal and charged a very fair rate which was under the cap from my settlement of back pay from being off for five years.
    - Benjamin B.
    "I love this place!"
    They helped me out with my disability when I couldn't get it on my own. Thank you so much y'all!
    - Tammy H.
    "I only wish I would have reached out sooner. Fair, Honest, and will work for your Win."
    HIGHLY RECOMMEND this Office!! My case was very complex, and had me exhausted. I had been looking for the right Attorney, and found him right here. Thad Murphy handled my case in an amazing amount of time.
    - Sandra R.
    "Everything you would expect."
    Did a great job with explaining the steps we need to take to secure our future and our children.
    - Amy S.
    "I would recommend him or this office to anyone who needs help!"
    I had the honor to work with Mr. Murphy. He handled my disability case. He is very understanding and is there if you have questions.
    - Amber W.
    "They got my disability for me very quickly."
    So very pleased! I referred 5 friends to them and they got their disability for them as well! Two from Davenport area, and three in Burlington!! GREAT ATTORNEYS!!! I'm still recommending them!
    - Melody L.

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We’re here to help answer your questions. Judicial matters can be complicated, we will make it easy to understand. We take great pride in using our expertise for you and look forward to hearing from you.

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