Learning of a denial for your Social Security disability benefits request is very upsetting. Keep in mind that even legitimate requests are often denied, which is where the appeal process comes in.
According to the Social Security Administration, the appeal process has four separate levels. Here is what you should know about appealing denied benefits.
Reconsideration involves a review of your claim and supporting information by a third party not involved in the original decision. You are allowed to present new information if available. You can also ask for a non-medical appeal if the reason for the denial involves something other than your medical condition. This includes issues with income or your living situation.
Hearings are overseen by an administrative law judge who was not involved in the original decision or reconsideration process. You may request an in-person or hearing, but video conferencing is available to accommodate limited mobility. Upon making a request, you will receive a package providing instructions on how to proceed. Make sure you understand the instructions and comply in a timely manner.
Appeals Council review
The Appeals Council has discretion over whether to review a case. If they choose to, they can make a decision themselves or send the case to another administrative law judge for further review.
Federal Court review
A federal court review is the last step in the appeals process. This involves filing suit against Social Security Administration for the denial of benefits.
Timeliness is crucial after receiving notice of a denial. You generally only have a period of 60 days to begin the process, so make your request as soon as possible after you receive a response.