A New Hampshire Social Security disability or SSI claim is often a two stage process. The first stage is the review of your initial disability application. The Social Security Administration sends your case to a state agency in Concord – Disability Determination Services – to gather additional information and to make an initial determination on your claim. The initial determination is usually made within a three to four month period.
If your case is denied, then you must request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge within 60 days.
The administrative hearings are usually conducted in Manchester, New Hampshire. The hearings are either held in person or by videoconference. At the hearing, the judge will review the medical evidence, hear your testimony, and may take testimony from a medical or vocational expert witness. The judge will often ask your representative to make an opening statement telling the judge the factors which support the disability claim.
Additionally, it is my practice to prepare a hearing brief for the judge. The hearing brief sets forth the background facts of your claim, the medical evidence, and a “theory of the case” telling the judge why your claim should be granted under the Social Security disability evaluation process.
There are currently eight judges permanently assigned to the Manchester, New Hampshire hearing office: Judge Debra Boudreau, Judge James D’Alessandro, Judge Edward Hoban, Judge Ruth Kleinfeld, Judge Robert Klingebiel, Chief Judge Paul Martin, Judge Thomas Merrill and Judge Dory Sutker.
If you have a New Hampshire Social Security disability claim, it is very important to select a Social Security disability lawyer who is familiar with the New Hampshire judges, because one of these judges will decide your case.
For most claimants, the ALJ hearing is the last stage of the process. However, if your claim is denied, you may file an Appeals Council Request for Review within 60 days of the date of the judge’s unfavorable decision. If the Appeals Council grants your request, it will remand your case for a new hearing. On rare occasions, the Appeal Council will grant a claim outright.
If your claim has still not been granted or remanded for a new hearing after the Appeals Council stage, you can file suit against the SSA in U.S. District Court. The suit must be filed within 60 days of the Appeals Council denial.
If you are a New Hampshire resident and have a Social Security disability or SSI claim, please contact Gordon Gates today. You can call me toll free at 1-888-200-4484, I will be happy to discuss your case.
There is no fee unless you are awarded benefits.