There are several steps applicants for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits can take to appeal a denial of benefits. Initial applications for benefits are oftentimes denied, which does not always necessarily mean the applicant will not be able to obtain benefits, which is why it is helpful to be familiar with the SSD appeals process.
The Social Security disability appeals process
There are several steps in the Social Security disability appeals process that disabled applicants can access including:
- Request for reconsideration – the disabled applicant can request that their application for Social Security disability benefits be reconsidered. The reconsideration process involves a fresh set of eyes reviewing the application for benefits.
- Hearing – if the reviewer taking a second look again denies the application for disability benefits, the next step in the process is a hearing before an administrative law judge. The applicant can participate in the hearing during which witnesses may give testimony and evidence of the applicant’s disability may be reviewed.
- SSA Appeals Council Review – if the administrative law judge also denies the application for disability benefits following the hearing, the disabled applicant can request a Social Security Administration (SSA) Appeals Council Review.
- Appeal in federal court – if the SSA Appeals Council denies the application for disability benefits, the disabled applicant can appeal the denial to the federal court, seeking relief.
Social Security disability benefits are crucial for many disabled individuals and their families who are struggling to get by. For that reason, it is essential for disabled applicants to be familiar with the different appeals options and how to navigate them to obtain the benefits they need.