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What to do after a claim for disability benefits has been denied

Even when a disabled individual in Philadelphia is familiar with the initial application process for disability benefits, they may not be approved right away for Social Security disability benefits. Most applications for disability benefits are initially denied. Especially because important time limits apply, it is necessary for applicants to be aware of the ways to challenge a denial of benefits.

The Social Security Administration provides a long process to appeal a denial of benefits that includes four level of appeal. The appeals process includes an initial request for reconsideration in states where that is available; a hearing before an administrative law judge; an appeal to the Social Security Administration's Appeals Council; and an appeal to the federal court.

The request for reconsideration process involves a request that another reviewer, other than the reviewer that initially reviewed the original application for benefits reviews the application. This provides a fresh set of eyes to look over the application for disability benefits. If the application remains denied after the request for reconsideration, the disabled individual can pursue a hearing before an administrative law judge. Because the hearing may be a new experience for many applicants, it can be useful to prepare for it beforehand. If the administrative law judge denies the claim for benefits, two levels of appeal remain including the Appeals Council and federal court.

Disabled individuals denied Social Security can be alarmed by increasing concerns over their need to meet daily expenses and their inability to work due to their disability. Because of that, it is essential that they are familiar with the application and appeals processes so they can promptly apply for benefits and promptly appeal a denied claim for benefits when needed.

Source: FindLaw, "Basics of Social Security Disability Appeals," Accessed Oct. 31, 2017

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