If you applied for Social Security Disability benefits and were denied, you are part of the majority. Approximately 70% of initial applications are denied and must be appealed. Denial of benefits on the initial application does not mean you are ineligible to receive them. Appealing allows the SSA to review your claim again and allows you to send additional information to help them make a more informed decision. Many people appeal at least once, and there are several stages in the appeals process:
1) Request for Reconsideration
- An appeal after an initial application is denied. The SSA will review your claim and reconsider its denial of your benefits. Most claims are denied and must move on to the second stage of appealing.
2) Request for a Hearing Before a Judge
- A hearing is performed in front of a judge where the judge will hear the whole story and even testimonies in favor of the case over your abilities and condition. If denied, claims go to stage three.
3) Request for review by Appeals Council
- Another hearing, but this time it is in front of a higher level judge from the appeals council. If denied, claims go to stage four.
4) Suing the SSA in Federal Court
- This is the final stage of appeal, so a case is over and benefits will not be awarded if denied. However, a new claim can be made.
Contact a Social Security Disability attorney if your claim was denied. They will help you through the appeals process by gathering important documents, collecting a doctor’s opinion on your condition, reviewing your file to see what is lacking, and prepare you for hearings if needed. Please call (703) 584-7277 for expert advice if you were denied disability benefits.