If you are disabled and applied for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), but the Social Security Administration (SSA) has denied your application you may be wondering what step to take next. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for applications for benefits to be denied on the first go around, but fortunately it is also not uncommon for people to gain approval at one of the levels of appeal. The first thing you need to know about a denial is that you do still have several more chances at being approved. Deciding what you want to do can be hard, but with the right social security attorney by your side, giving you the right advice, you can make a decision that makes sense.
There are four levels of SSDI appeals, and it is important to understand how each level works:
• Reconsideration: at this stage you will likely request an online reconsideration of the application on file. Most reconsiderations are done for medical denials, which means you will want to provide a bit more medical evidence about your condition. A new examiner, with a fresh set of eyes, will look at the application and evidence you provided as well as any additional evidence you have regarding your condition.
• Hearing by an administrative law judge: the judge presiding over your hearing will not have had any prior involvement in your case and this is your chance to give testimony and even bring in your physician if needed. Sometimes it helps to tell your story in person, and to have others provide testimony that backs up what you say. That is what you will get with a hearing, and having an attorney guide you through this process is invaluable.
• Appeals Council review: if you are not successful at hearing, you can ask the Appeals Council to review the decision. If the Council believes the hearing result is correct, you may be denied review at this level. But if the Council decides to take your case then it will do so either by reviewing the evidence on its own or having the Administrative Law Judge take another look.
• Federal Court review: if the Appeals Council still denies your claim, you have the right to file a federal lawsuit to appeal the denial of benefits.
We have experience with each of these layers in the process and can help you decide what is best for you.
If you have questions about how to appeal a denial of SSDI, call an experienced attorney for help. Contact us online today for more information. We can also be reached at 855-727-6353.