Applying for disability benefits can be highly stressful, and receiving a denial can feel like a crushing defeat. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your application for Social Security Disability benefits, however, you are not alone. The SSA reports that it awarded benefits to only a third of applicants between 2008 and 2018, and the administration initially denied many of these applications. After receiving a denial, it is important to know the different ways to appeal the SSA’s decision.
1. Request a reconsideration.
If your application was denied based on a medical decision you can request a reconsideration of your file. A new reviewer who did not initially examine your file will review your information. Examining your file before reconsideration gives you the opportunity to look for missing information or potential ways to improve your application. Consider whether new evidence could make your application stronger.
2. Request a hearing.
Another way to appeal an SSD decision is to request a hearing conducted by an administrative law judge. The judge will schedule this hearing in a way that is convenient for you. For in-person hearings, you will go to a facility within 75 miles of your home. Video hearings will be held online. After requesting a hearing, you will receive documents that explain the hearing process.
3. Request a review by the appeals council
After an administrative law judge has reviewed your file, you can further appeal the case by requesting a review by the Appeals Council. They will review the administrative judge’s decision to determine whether it aligned with social security law.
If the Appeals Council decided not to review your case or denied you, you could file a civil lawsuit in federal court to further appeal that decision.
For answers to your questions about the appeals process, speak to an attorney with experience in SSD benefits cases. They can help guide you through the appeals options available to you and review your application to give it the best chance for success.