Harlan Still & Koch

Understanding what to include in an appeal for disability

The importance of Social Security disability benefits cannot be overstated for many disabled individuals. A denial of benefits can threaten the ability of disabled residents in Missouri and elsewhere to attend to their everyday needs. Because of this, it is important to be aware that when Social Security disability or SSD benefits have been denied, an SSD appeals process is available.

The appeals process can include updating information that helps supplement the application for benefits. Medical records can be updated, which includes updated medical treatment, tests, doctors and hospitals. It is also useful to report any changes to medical conditions or changes to daily activities. Any changes to medications should also be reported. There is a 60-day window to appeal so it is important to act promptly when filing an appeal for a denial of SSD benefits.

In general, and depending on the state, there are 4 levels of appeals, including a request for reconsideration, a hearing, the Appeals Council and an appeal in federal court. During the reconsideration process, the application is reviewed by a new examiner and new medical consultant not involved in the initial review of the application. Additional levels of appeal are reviewed by administrative law judges and others. It is of utmost importance for disabled individuals to be aware of the application and appeals processed associated with SSD benefits.

Disabled individuals should ensure that they have all the information required for their application for benefits and any appeals and should be aware of the options available to them if they believe they have been unjustly denied benefits. Disability benefits can be vitally important for disabled individuals and their families so it is helpful for them to be familiar with how to obtain benefits.

Source: New Haven Register, "How to appeal online if you're denied Social Security benefits," Oct. 18, 2016

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