People with disabilities may be eligible for much-needed benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects the vast majority of applicants on their first try. If this happened to you, it is not the end of the road. You can appeal the SSA’s decision, and the chances of approval are much greater when you do appeal a denial.
The reality is that many applications are denied because of minor errors or lack of medical evidence. An attorney with experience in these matters can also help you avoid errors and compile the evidence you need to move forward.
When to appeal
You have the right to appeal the SSA’s decision if your application was unsuccessful. If you appeal, the SSA will look at your case again. To appeal, you must do so no more than 60 days after receiving the SSA’s notice of the decision. Otherwise, you may lose your right to appeal, and the last judgment the SSA made will become final unless you have a good reason for the delay.
IMPORTANT: It is crucial to get help from an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. Your chances of approval are much greater when you get help from a lawyer who is familiar with the system and requirements for receiving SSDI benefits.
The appeal process
It is important to know that there are four levels of the appeal process. If you disagree with the SSA’s decision at the first level, you move on to the next and so on until you reach the final level or are satisfied with the results. The four levels are:
- Reconsideration: Someone who was not involved with the first decision will review your claim, including the evidence used in the first and second applications.
- Hearing: An administrative judge will conduct a hearing to review your case. The hearing can be online.
- Appeals Council review: The Appeals Council will look at all your requests and decide if the Council or another administrative judge will make the decision on your case. Sometimes the Appeals Council denies requests when the Council believes that the decision the SSA made was correct.
- Federal court: You can file a civil suit with the federal district court if the Appeals Council denied reviewing your case or if you disagree with the answer the Council gave you.
How can I get help with my SSDI claim?
To have your claim moved forward as expeditiously as possible, talk to an SSDI attorney as soon as possible. More than 60% of initial applications are denied on the first try, so if yours was rejected, you are not alone. You can minimize your worries by getting help from a lawyer who knows the SSDI process and how to maximize benefits.