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How to appeal an SSDI denial

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2020 | Social Security Disability

If you cannot work but have received a denial for Social Security disability benefits, you have recourse. Individuals have the right to appeal whether their denial was for medical or work history reasons.

Explore the SSDI appeal process and understand your next steps in this challenging situation.


You can request an appeal online for either a medical or non-medical denial. With this process, your claim will receive a completely new review from someone who did not participate in the review of your original application. You can also submit additional supporting documents with your reconsideration request.

Administrative hearing

If your reconsideration appeal fails, the next step is a hearing before an administrative law judge who has not yet reviewed your case or appeal. You will receive notice of your hearing date and location, which will be within 75 miles of your residence if possible. Video hearings are also available, and you can request an administrative hearing online.

Appeals Council review

When you disagree with the administrative law judge’s decision, you can ask for a review by the Appeals Council. However, when you submit a request for this type of review, the council may deny your request if the judge followed applicable laws and regulations. If the council agrees that your appeal should move forward, your case will receive review either from the Appeals Council members or from a different administrative law judge.

Federal court review

Individuals who receive a denial after the Appeals Council review may wish to file a civil lawsuit. With this process, the federal court in your local district will review your SSDI application and make a legally binding determination. An Appeals Council denial letter contains detailed information about the federal court review process.

Many people who have a physical or mental disability do not receive SSDI when they first apply. Understanding the SSDI appeal process can help you increase the chances of receiving the benefits you and your family need.


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