This blog recently discussed the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits. Individuals seeking Social Security disability (SSD) benefits may wonder how they appeal a decision concerning denied benefits after they have already applied for benefits.
After the applicant has received a denial of their claim, he can appeal the decision and submit documents supporting the appeal. In general, there are four steps that can be a part of the appeals process, including reconsideration; a hearing by an administrative law judge; Appeals Council review, and review by a federal court. The reconsideration process involves a review of the applicant’s claim for benefits by a party that did not participate in the first review. Both existing information and new information may be reviewed as part of the process.
As part of the hearing process, an administrative law judge will review all the details of the case and will consider any new information provided by the applicant. Prior to the hearing, additional information may be requested of the applicant. Witnesses, experts and the applicant may all be questioned during the hearing. Special accommodations, depending on the circumstances, may be possible concerning the applicant’s presence at the hearing. The applicant or the applicant’s representative can also ask questions and the SSA generally works with representatives of applicants.
The Appeals Council reviews requests for appeal and will deny one if it believes the administrative law judge’s decision was correct. If it decides that the decision was not correct, it will send the appeal back to the administrative law judge for further review. If the applicant disagrees with the Appeals Council’s decision, or the Appeals Council denied review of the applicant’s claim for benefits, the applicant has the option to file a lawsuit in federal court. The application and SSD appeals process can be complicated and lengthy, which is why it is best for applicants to carefully understand how to best approach and navigate the process to ensure they receive much-needed disability benefits.
Source: SSA.gov, “The Appeals Process,” Accessed Aug. 17, 2015