The Social Security Disability Insurance Appeals Process
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Appeals
Summary: If you have been denied your disability claim, you must appeal within 60 days. You have four appeal opportunities in the following order.
- Hearing with a Judge
- Appeals Council Review
- Federal Court Review
To help you get the benefits you deserve, Freedom Disability encourages all claimants who have been denied in the past to contact us immediately to begin an appeal. At Freedom Disability we are experts in the Social Security Disability appeals process and can help you build a winning case to get you the benefits you deserve.
When Can I Appeal?
In order to appeal your claim, you must submit your request to appeal within 60 days of receiving your letter of denial from the Social Security Administration. Contact Freedom Disability as soon as possible at (866) 761-5942 so that we can assist you with your appeal right away. The sooner you begin the process, the sooner you may begin receiving benefits. If it has already been more than 60 days since you received your denial letter please contact us and we can discuss your options.
In most areas the first step in the appeals process will be a request for reconsideration. In a reconsideration appeal, your case is reviewed by someone who was not a part of the original decision. All evidence from the initial application is assessed as well as any new information you wish to provide. You usually do not need to be present for the reconsideration of your case. If your request for reconsideration is denied, and we believe that your case has merit, we will file a request for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
At the hearing level, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will have had no previous knowledge of your initial claim or the reconsideration of your case.
Before your hearing, we will work with you to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation to support your case. Your Freedom Disability Advocate will appear with you, in person or via teleconference, in front of the ALJ. You have the opportunity to bring any witnesses that you feel will benefit your claim.
The hearing is typically held within 75 miles of your home, or may be done by video if you are unable to attend the hearing in person. A video hearing is usually scheduled much faster and closer to your home, making it more convenient for you and your witnesses.
Although it is highly recommended that you attend your hearing either in person or via video, it is not completely necessary. If you are unable to attend, or do not wish to do so, you must notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible before the hearing is scheduled with a valid reason. Depending on your situation, the SSA may be able to change your hearing date and location.
At the hearing, the ALJ will question you and any witnesses you bring about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. You and your Freedom Disability Advocate will also have the opportunity to question your witnesses.
After your hearing, the judge will make his or her decision based upon initial evidence and any new information you have provided. Once the judge has made a decision, a copy will be sent to you in writing.
3. Appeals Council
If your case has been denied at the hearing level, and you disagree with the decision, you may request for your claim to be reviewed by the Social Security’s Appeals Council. The council looks at all the review requests, but also has the power to reject a review if they believe the decision made at the hearing was correct. If the council decides to review your case, they either send the case to a new Administrative Law Judge, or make a decision themselves. Either way you will receive a letter with the decision.
4. Federal Court Review
If you disagree with the decision made by the Appeals Council, or if they refused to review your case, you may file a lawsuit through a federal district court.
Continuing to Receive Benefits During the Appeal
If you were receiving disability benefits, and the Social Security Administration during its periodic review of your case decides that you no longer qualify because they determine that your medical condition is no longer disabling, you may request that your benefits continue if you are appealing their decision. You must make this request within ten days of receiving notice that you are no longer eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Get Disability Help with Freedom Disability
Although some people choose to handle their claims alone, we recommend you work with an experienced representative. We can help you win your case sooner, and help you get the disability benefits you deserve. Our professional Disability Advocates have substantial experience submitting appeals to the Social Security Administration and know which types of evidence and medical records will benefit your claim the most. Call Freedom today at (866) 761-5942 to speak with one of our Disability Advocates. You will receive a free evaluation of your case status and a thorough review of your options.
The foregoing information is based on published materials from the Social Security Administration (“The Appeals Process”). It is meant to serve as an introduction to some of the factors used by the SSA in evaluating cases. It is no way comprehensive. While Freedom Disability can help you prepare an effective application for benefits, only the SSA can determine whether or not you qualify. For more information contact Freedom Disability today at (866) 761-5942.