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You Were Denied. Now What Do You Do?

When you’re counting on getting help with your expenses because a medical problem has pushed you out of work, it can be devastating to receive a denial of your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

You have a family to support. You feel like you have nowhere else to turn.

But don’t give up hope. Most people get denied the first time they apply for disability. You can – and usually should – appeal your claim.

The appeals process can be time-consuming, but many people who appeal their cases win benefits.

Make sure you understand, though, that you need to move quickly so you don’t miss any deadlines.

Important: If you received a denial letter, you only have 60 days to file your appeal.

Cunningham Law Group takes special care to help you with appeals.

We’re the only law firm in southern Virginia where you can come to our office for a video hearing with one of Social Security’s administrative law judges, who are located in Charlottesville or Richmond.

Contact us for help with your appeal.

Four Levels of SSDI Appeal

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has four levels of appeal for disability claimants in Virginia:

  1. Reconsideration – Cunningham Law Group will help you file for a reconsideration of your claim. In this step, someone who was not part of your first decision reviews your claim. They look at the evidence you’ve submitted – and any new evidence you submit for this review. Our lawyers will present all of your evidence for you.
  2. Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) – One of our attorneys will go with you to this hearing to make sure the judge gets all the information he or she needs to award benefits. Hearings typically happen at an SSA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. But at Cunningham Law Group, you can come to our Halifax office for a video hearing. You don’t have to travel to an SSA office. This stage in the process is one of your best opportunities to win benefits.
  3. Review by Appeals Council – If the ALJ denies your claim, next you can ask the SSA’s Appeals Council to review your case. Our attorneys will keep fighting for you there. The Appeals Council could approve your claim, deny it, or return your case to the ALJ for a new hearing.
  4. Federal Court Review – If you disagree with the Appeals Council decision, you can then file a lawsuit in Federal District Court. For this level, you must have an attorney admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court to represent you. Attorney Joel Cunningham Jr. takes 40 to 50 disability cases to federal court every year. He’s been helping people win benefits for 25 years.

At any stage in the process, we strongly urge you to get legal representation. Especially, don’t go to your hearing alone.

Past results show your chances of winning benefits are better when you have a lawyer with you.

Contact us about appealing your claim.

Preparing You to
Meet a Judge

Your hearing with a judge is your only chance to meet a decision-maker on your case in person.

That makes it a critical moment for your disability claim.

Make sure you have all your evidence and arguments ready. Many cases are won at this level.

Unlike some out-of-town law firms, the attorneys at Cunningham Law Group make the effort to prepare you for your hearing, meeting you in person ahead of time.

Meeting you in person is important because it helps us better understand your situation before we present it to the judge.

Nothing can replace the power of a face-to-face conversation for finding all the details that might help your case.

It also means you get treated like a person, not a case number.

We also want to be sure you’re confident and comfortable going into your hearing.

If it works best for you, we can arrange for you to come to our office and have your hearing by video. Few law firms offer that option.

This is what we’ll do for you:

  • Analyze your Social Security file
  • Prepare your case strategy
  • Collect evidence from your doctors and other medical providers
  • Submit documentation to the hearing office
  • Help you prepare your testimony
  • Question witnesses who testify on your behalf
  • Cross-examine any medical and vocational experts who testify for the SSA

Remember:

  • Your chance of winning benefits can improve when you have an attorney.
  • You only pay attorneys’ fees when you win benefits.
  • And, whether you’re applying or appealing.
we’ll evaluate your case for free