It’s no surprise that most Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims are denied at the first stage of the process. In fact, most Social Security disability claims go through multiple stages with opportunities for claimants to appeal along the way.
As a refresher, let’s revisit the Social Security disability appeals process further below.
Disability Appeals Process
Once you have made the decision to appeal a denied claim, you’ll have access to four different levels of appeals. Social Security’s definition of each type of appeal is listed below:
Reconsideration: A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first determination. During this process, Social Security will look at all the evidence submitted in the original determination plus any new evidence. Reconsideration can be medical or non-medical depending on the reasons why your claim was denied at the initial step.
Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge: If your claim is denied at the reconsideration level, you can request a hearing conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who had no part in the original determination or the reconsideration of your case.
Appeals Council Review: If your claim progresses to a hearing with the ALJ and you disagree with their decision, you can request an Appeals Council Review. The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review. It may deny a request if it believes the hearing decision is in accordance with Social Security law and regulations. If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, it will either decide your case itself or return it to an administrative law judge for further review.
Federal Court Review: Finally, as the last step in the appeals process, if you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision, or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, you can file a civil suit in a federal district court. This is the last level of the appeals process. It’s important to note that if you’re working with a representative, it’s best to work with an attorney, not just a disability advocate, who can file a lawsuit accordingly.
What To Do if I’m Denied
If your claim is denied, the best thing you can do is to contact a qualified Social Security attorney straight away. Typically, the window for appealing a denial is 60 days or less. Here are the three steps you should take immediately if a claim is denied:
- Read the Notice of Denial carefully and do not throw it away. This contains your timeline for requesting an Appeal and the reasons why you were denied.
- Determine if you’d like to move forward with appealing your Social Security disability claim.
- Contact a qualified Disability lawyer in your area and ask them to provide you with a free consultation on your denied claim. Each disability lawyer is different but if you provide them with basic information regarding the reasons why you were denied and the appeal deadline, they can advise you as to whether or not they can take on your claim.
If you live in Charlotte, Lexington, Winston-Salem, Mount Airy, Greensboro, or areas surrounding those cities, we can help you with your denied claim. Simply complete this form or call us today.