HOW MANY TIMES CAN I APPEAL MY SSDI DENIAL?
If you’ve been denied Social Security disability benefits, you’re in good company. Most people who apply for SSDI are denied at first. Fortunately, a great many of those who stick it out and pursue the appeals process are ultimately approved.
The question of how many times you can go through the appeals process is a bit misleading, as it seems to suggest that you can repeat the process. In fact, there are multiple opportunities within the process, but you only get one chance at each. Here’s how the process goes.
Social Security Disability Appeals Process:
When you’ve been denied SSDI benefits, you can take the following steps:
- Request reconsideration – this is a review of your application and supporting documents by the same section that initially denied your claim. A different decision-maker makes the determination, and you can submit additional information.
- Request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) – if your claim is still denied on reconsideration, you can request a hearing. This is a more fully-developed appeal, where you can present witnesses and additional medical information to the decision-maker.
- Request review by the Appeals Council – if the ALJ finds against you, you may request Appeals Council review. However, a Council hearing isn’t guaranteed. Only a small percentage of requests are scheduled for a hearing.
- File a petition in federal district court – once you’ve exhausted every administrative possibility, you can file a civil suit in federal district court. This is the final step for most applicants whose claims have not been approved at an earlier stage.
- Appeal the federal district court’s decision – some applicants who lose in federal court can file an appeal. However, this process requires specific grounds, and this option isn’t available to everyone.
So, in short, there are five possible stages of appeal after an SSDI denial. However, the ALJ hearing has the highest approval rate. That means most applicants never reach the later stages.
An applicant who has been denied disability benefits can apply all over again. Whether or not that is a good idea depends on a variety of factors, including the reason for the denial, how far you got in the appeals process, how much time has passed, and whether there have been changes in your medical condition since you last submitted information to the SSA in connection with your disability claim. Generally, it is better to continue along the appeals process than to reapply, for a variety of reasons. So, it’s essential to talk to a Social Security disability advocate to determine the best avenue to take.
To learn more about how Disability Help Group can help you, contact us or call (800) 800-2009 right now.