How Does the Social Security Disability Appeals Process Work?

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12th Jul 2012

If you have filed a claim with the Social Security Administration for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may already be aware that the majority of initial applications are unsuccessful. Even for people who are truly disabled, the system is designed to reject all but the clearest claims during the first round of consideration. With persistence and help from an experienced attorney, however, many people are eventually awarded benefits through the four-part appeals process.

Denied SSDI and SSI applications are both appealed in the same way. The first step, which must be requested within 60 days of the denial, is called a reconsideration. In this step, a different claims examiner will review your application and decide whether to award benefits.

The second step in the appeals process is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The judge will consider your claim as well as any new evidence that you or your attorney submit. Many applicants find success at this stage in the process.

If your ALJ hearing does not produce the desired result, the next step is to ask for a review of the ALJ’s decision by the Appeals Council. The council can issue a denial, send the case back to the judge, or grant approval and award you benefits.

Your last resort if the administrative law judge and the Appeals Council do not rule in your favor is to file a suit in federal district court.

For help getting an SSI or SSDI application right the first time, or assistance during the Social Security appeals process, speak with an experienced disability benefits attorney at Anderson, Larson, Saunders & Klaassen, PLLP today.