For certain individuals Supplemental Security Income is very important. When people are unable to work because of a disability, SSI can help to provide some much needed income. In particular, disabled children, the blind and disabled individuals can benefits from the program even when they do not have significant employment histories. Sometimes this income is absolutely vital for these individuals.
However, this income is not automatic. An application must be filed and approved by the Social Security Administration in order for people to receive SSI benefits. In many cases, these benefits are denied and an appeal is required. Pennsylvania residents should have a basic understanding of the four levels of appeal in SSI cases.
The Social Security Administration says the first level of appeal is called reconsideration. Here, a new person reviews the person’s application to make sure the first decision was made correctly. If the application is still denied, a person can choose to go to the hearing level.
At the hearing level, an administrative law judge will reevaluate the case. At the hearing, new evidence can be presented about why a person qualifies for SSI benefits.
Following the hearing level is the Appeals Council. At the Appeals Council level, the Social Security Appeals Council can determine whether or not to take a person’s case. They can also send the case back to the hearing level, or deny a review.
The final level is federal court. This is a lawsuit in court where people fight for their right to compensation.
These levels can be difficult for people to understand without the right experience. They can also have technical requirements, like strict time lines. People considering an appeal should discuss their situation with an experienced attorney who can represent their interests throughout the process.