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What to do if one's disability benefits hearing was unfair?

Not every application for Social Security Disability benefits will be approved the first time that it is submitted. In fact, Pennsylvanians may have to undergo a multistep review process to have their request honored and begin receiving benefits. While it is important that individuals working through the disability benefits application process consult with disability benefits lawyers for specific help, this post will briefly discuss some of the steps that a person may have to take to get a fair review of their application.

When an application is initially denied the applicant can apply for a review, also called a reconsideration determination. During the reconsideration determination the application is reviewed by a party that had not reviewed it upon its initial submission. If the new reviewer approves the application then benefits may begin. If the new reviewer also denies the application then the applicant may apply for a hearing on the matter.

A hearing takes place in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ may have the power to overturn the reviews undertaken prior to the hearing or also deny the merits of the applicant's application for disability benefits. While a denial of benefits on the merits may be subject to an even higher level of review, applications that are denied by ALJs due to discrimination or misconduct should be addressed quickly.

If an applicant suspects that their application was denied by an ALJ due to misconduct, they must submit particular information to the Social Security Administration within 180 days of their hearing. That information includes but is not limited to contact information for the applicant as well as information regarding the misconduct they believe occurred during their hearing.

Initiating a review of a denied Social Security disability benefits application can be cumbersome and applicants can benefit from the help of dedicated legal professionals. Misconduct committed during a hearing, though, is a serious matter that should not be tolerated by a disability benefits applicant.

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