When a claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, that is not the end of the story. In fact, most claims are initially denied, which is why it is crucial to be familiar with the SSD appeals process.
In general, there are several levels of appeals if a claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied. Not all levels of appeal may be available in every state so it is important to be familiar with the options for appealing a denied SSD claim in the disabled individual's state. The first level is a request for reconsideration during which a new reviewer, other than the one that initially reviewed the claim for benefits, reviews the claim.
The next level of appeal is a hearing before an administrative law judge. As is true when preparing an initial application for benefits and at all levels of the appeals process, it is important to have all of the applicant's medical records thoroughly organized and ready. Having help preparing for the hearing and any testimony that may be given is also important. If the application for benefits remains denied after the hearing, the next level of appeal is to the Social Security Appeals Council, followed by an appeal in federal court if necessary.
Social Security disability benefits are often badly needed benefits for disabled individuals struggling to make ends meet. As a result, it is beneficial to understand how to present the strongest initial application for benefits possible and to be familiar with how to appeal a denied claim for benefits when necessary.