The process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is fraught with potential pitfalls. A significant number of applicants with truly debilitating medical conditions will learn after they initially apply that the Social Security Administration (SSA) rejected their application for some reason.
Too many people think that their denied claims are a reason to give up, when in reality, a denied initial claim is just the first step in the process of securing benefits for quite a few applicants. After an initial benefit denial, you will typically need to seek benefits by appealing the initial rejection.
During an appeal, an administrative law judge will be the person with authority to make decisions that will impact whether or not you receive your benefits.
What is an administrative law judge?
There are many areas of law in the United States, including both civil and criminal law. Judges preside over court proceedings typically for either civil or criminal cases. However, judges whose education or experience has given them insight into the interpretation and application of administrative law may follow a different career path.
Much like a judge in criminal court must interpret state statutes, so does a judge hearing SSDI appeals base their rulings on their understanding of administrative law. In this case, they will review the guidelines and best practices for the SSA and apply that information to your situation.
Provided that you completed the paperwork properly and secure adequate documentation about the severity of your condition, the administrative law judge hearing your case could very well rule in your favor and order not just the approval of your initially-denied claim but also the payment of past-due benefits.
Quite a few people secure benefits after a hearing with an administrative law judge
The SSA does its best to be transparent in how it handles cases. From providing estimates about wait times before you see a judge to providing concrete statistics about how many hearings an individual administrative law judge has conducted and how many times they have awarded benefits to an applicant, the SSA goes out of its way to make information accessible to the public that needs the services they provide.
Once you know the name of the administrative law judge who will hear your case, you can review their previous record and use that to help you better strategize for your appeal.