When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, you might not always receive immediate approval. The Social Security Administration often denies initial applications due to various reasons, such as insufficient medical evidence or non-compliance with application requirements. However, if the SSA denies your application, it is not the end of the road. You have the right to appeal the decision, and the process can lead to approval.
Knowing what to expect at each stage of the SSDI appeals process can improve your chances of securing benefits.
After the SSA denies your initial application, the first step in the appeals process is to request a reconsideration. During this stage, a new SSA representative reviews your application. They examine all the initial evidence and any new evidence you provide.
Hearing by an administrative law judge
If the SSA denies your reconsideration request, you can request a hearing by an administrative law judge. During the hearing, you present your case in front of the judge. The judge reviews your evidence, listens to your testimony and may also hear from medical or vocational experts.
Review by the Appeals Council
Should the judge uphold the denial, you can then appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. The council can either decide your case or return it to an administrative law judge for further review.
Federal Court review
If all else fails, you have the option to file a lawsuit in a federal district court.
Remember, while you navigate the SSDI appeals process, be sure to provide thorough and accurate information at each stage. Each appeal is a new opportunity to present your case, and supplying all necessary medical documentation and complying with all deadlines can increase your chances of a successful appeal.