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Disability applicants should understand the appeals process

Being denied for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income is not the end of the process of applying for benefits and should not be considered the end of the process. The majority of applications for disability benefits are initially denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) which is why it is important for disabled individuals to be familiar with their rights as applicants to appeal.

The SSA provides different programs for disabled individuals in different situations so they should also be familiar with the different options that may be available to them including Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income. Applicants for disability benefits who have a physical or mental medical condition that is severe enough to prevent them from working should be familiar with the application and appeals processes for disability benefits.

The first step in the appeals process is a request for reconsideration during which time the medical records of the application are reviewed by someone other than the initial reviewer. If the application for disability benefits is denied for a second time, the applicant can request a hearing before an administrative law judge who will make a determination concerning the applicant's eligibility for benefits. If the application for benefits is again denied, an Appeals Council Review can be requested. If the application remains denied, the next appeals option is an appeal to the federal court.

Disability benefits are oftentimes badly needed benefits disabled individuals and their families may rely on. As such, it is important to be familiar with the application process, how to present strong medical evidence if disability and how to navigate the appeals process when needed to obtain much-needed benefits.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee