Social Security disability benefits are important for many disabled individuals and their families who are struggling to make ends meet. Being denied Social Security disability benefits can feel devastating to an individual struggling with a disability and to their family. Fortunately, a denied claim for benefits is not the end of the story, as there are several levels to the Social Security appeals process.
Most claims for disability are initially denied so it is important not to be discouraged if an initial claim for benefits is denied. The four levels of appeals include a request for reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law just, a review by the Social Security Administration Appeals Council and filing an appeal in federal court. Each phase of the appeals progress is progressive in the sense that the applicant begins with the request for reconsideration, if it is available in their state, and progresses through each subsequent phase of the appeals process if their application for disability benefits continues to be denied.
A request for reconsideration involves the application for disability benefits being reviewed by a fresh set of eyes other than the reviewer who initially made the decision concerning the application. The next phase is a hearing before an administrative law judge which it can be helpful to be prepared for. At various points along the appeals process, it may be possible to provide additional medical evidence or other information. Providing the most accurate and through medical information with the initial application is the best approach and one that disabled applicants should be familiar with.
There are important deadlines associated with the Social Security disability appeals process so it is necessary to be aware of what those are and abide by them. The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be arduous, especially as applicants are already facing challenges associated with their disability, which is why it is important for them to understand both the application and appeals processes for disability benefits.
Source: FindLaw, “Basics of Social Security Disability Appeals,” Oct. 26, 2017