Understanding Your Social Security Disability Appeals Process
The Social Security disability appeals process includes several steps, each very different from the one before. It’s important that you understand the process and don’t miss opportunities, because most SSDI applications are initially denied. That means the appeals process is your best chance to get disability benefits awarded.
Take Full Advantage of Every Step in the SSDI Appeals Process
One mistake many people make during this process is to treat it as a cursory one, doing only the minimum to move the case along to the next stage of the process. Sometimes, that’s because applicants don’t fully understand the process or don’t know what type of new information would be helpful. This post provides an overview, but your best resource in the process is usually an experienced disability benefits advocate. You have a right to representation in the application and appeals process.
Request for Reconsideration of Your SSDI Denial
When your SSDI application is denied, you’ll have the opportunity to request reconsideration. This stage in the process is just what it sounds like–another decision-maker reviews your application as if it were a fresh application and makes a determination. This is usually the quickest step in the appeals process. It’s also the one with the lowest success rate. That’s partly because of the type of review, but it may also be partly because few applicants take full advantage of the opportunity to provide supplemental information for this review.
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
In the appeal process overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the ALJ hearing is the most complex process, and also the one where a Social Security disability claim is most likely to be approved. This is your chance to interact with the decision-maker and provide more detailed information. You even have the opportunity to bring witnesses. If you are well-prepared and approach this hearing properly, it is your best chance for approval.
If you are denied SSDI after the ALJ hearing, you can request review by the Appeals Council. However, the Council declines to review most cases.
U.S. District Court Review
If you’ve exhausted your options with the SSA, you can file a lawsuit in federal court. This is a complicated and time-consuming process compared with the other stages of the appeals process, and is best pursued with the assistance of a Social Security disability lawyer.
A Disability Benefits Advocate Can Help
The SSDI appeals process can be confusing and overwhelming, particularly when you may already be facing obstacles based on your disability. An experienced disability advocate can help ensure that you are presenting the strongest possible appeal. To learn more, contact us here or call (800) 800-3332 right now.