Harlan Still & Koch

Several levels of appeals are available for denied disability

While it can be understandably troubling to have a claim for Social Security disability or SSD benefits denied, most claims are initially denied. It is important to keep in mind that an initial denial of benefits is not the end of the process. There are several levels of the appeals process when a SSD claim for benefits has been denied. The first level of the SSD appeals process is a request for reconsideration during which a new reviewer evaluates the claim anew.

If the claim remains denied following the reconsideration process, the applicant for SSD benefits can request an administrative hearing. Additional medical evidence may be needed and it is helpful to prepare for the hearing before the administrative law judge. If the appeal before an administrative law judge is denied, the next level of appeal is an appeal before the Social Security Appeals Council. If the appeal still is not granted, it is possible to appeal the claim to the federal appeals court.

It is also helpful to be as familiar as possible, at the outset, with the application process which will require medical documentation and other information to complete. Social Security disability benefits are generally available to disabled individuals suffering from a severe disability as a result of a physical or mental medical condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death. Work history requirements also apply.

When beginning the Social Security disability application process, it is useful to be aware of the appeals options. Because a number of initial applications are denied, it increasingly valuable to disabled individuals to understand how to navigate the application and appeals processes.

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Harlan Still & Koch

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