New Hampshire disability and SSI claims review procedure
A New Hampshire Social Security disability or SSI claim proceeds through at least two stages: the initial review and an administrative hearing.
Review of your initial application
During the first stage, Social Security reviews your initial disability application. The Social Security Administration sends your case to Disability Determination Services, a state agency in Concord. There a claims examiner gathers additional information and, with a medical consultant, makes an initial determination on your claim. The initial decision on your application is made solely by reviewing your medical records and other paperwork. The decision makers do not meet with you in person. Usually, the initial determination is made within three to four months.
If your case is denied, you will be informed by letter.
Requesting a hearing. To move on to the next stage, you must appeal your denial [link to article] by requesting an administrative hearing within 60 days from the date of your denial letter.
Location. Social Security administrative hearings usually take place in Manchester, New Hampshire. The hearings can be either in person or by videoconference.
What happens at the hearing. The judge will review the medical evidence, hear your testimony, and the testimony of your witnesses. You will have a chance to explain in your own words your medical problems, work history, and why you can no longer work. The judge may also take testimony from a medical or vocational expert witness.
Your disability attorney’s role. The judge will often ask your attorney to make an opening statement telling the judge the factors that support your disability claim. Your attorney will also have the opportunity to cross-examine any expert witnesses. Additionally, I typically prepare a hearing brief for the judge. In the hearing brief I explain the background facts of your claim, the medical evidence, and a “theory of the case” telling the judge why you should be awarded Social Security disability benefits.
The New Hampshire Social Security judges. Currently eight administrative law judges are permanently assigned to hear Social Security disability cases in the Manchester, New Hampshire hearing office: Judge Debra Boudreau, Chief Judge James D’Alessandro, Judge Edward Hoban, Judge Ruth Kleinfeld, Judge Robert Klingebiel, Judge Paul Martin, Judge Thomas Merrill and Judge Dory Sutker.
If you have a New Hampshire Social Security disability claim, you should take care to select a Social Security disability lawyer who is familiar with the New Hampshire judges, because one of these judges will decide your case.
Beyond the hearing
Appeals Council review. For most claimants, the administrative hearing is the last stage through which their disability claim will pass. However, if your claim is denied by an administrative law judge, you may file an Appeals Council Request for Review. The Request for review must be filed 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. Rarely, the Appeal Council will grant a claim outright.
Suit in federal court. If the Appeals Council does not grant your claim or remand it for a new hearing, you can file suit against the Social Security Administration in U.S. District Court. The suit must be filed within 60 days after the Appeals Council denial.
For assistance with your New Hampshire Social Security disability claim
If you are a New Hampshire resident and have a Social Security disability or SSI claim, please contact me today. I will be happy to discuss your case. I also represent Social Security disability and SSI disability clients throughout Maine.
You can provide a brief description of your claim using the form to the right, and I will respond promptly. Or you may reach me at:
Law Office of Gordon Gates
Social Security disability lawyer
Toll-Free: (888) 200-4484
New Hampshire: (603) 821-0249
Maine: (207) 284-9999
Fax: (888) 774-0270
New Hampshire office (by appointment)
83 Hanover Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Please send all mail to:
110 Main Street
Saco, Maine 04072
There is no fee unless you are awarded benefits