Do Not Take No for an Answer: Appeal Your Disability Claim

Social Security Disability ("SSD") payments provide support to thousands of individuals who earned benefits through years of working. But, what about disabled workers whose claims are denied by the Social Security Administration? Although it can take some time, an extensive SSD appeals process is in place to ensure every eligible applicant is able to receive the benefits he or she deserves.

The Basic Process

If your SSD claim is denied, your first avenue for obtaining relief is asking for reconsideration. This involves the SSA reviewing your claim again from the start through an analysis of your files. Most initial applications are denied. The key is to not give up. With the help of an attorney, your chances of success are markedly improved at the reconsideration stage.

The next step, if your claim is denied, is a hearing before an administrative law judge. The judge will listen to your side of the story, examine evidence, and make a decision regarding your claim.

If your SSD claim is again denied by the judge, it can be brought to the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review the administrative law judge's decision for errors. If no errors are uncovered, the judge's decision stands. But, if the Appeals Council does find reason to disagree with the judge's decision, it will either correct the error on its own or send your case for another hearing before an administrative law judge.

If your SSD claim fails at reconsideration, before the judge, or before the Appeals Council, you have one final option: filing an action in federal court - but very few disability cases make it to this stage.

Some Advice

Sometimes, getting the benefits to which you are entitled can take a substantial amount of time after an initial rejection, so be sure to file your claim as soon as possible. Moreover, if you do need to appeal, seeking the legal representation of a Social Security Disability lawyer can be essential in getting a favorable end result.