Learning that your Social Security Disability claim was denied is very disheartening. You may wonder how you will make ends meet without the support from disability benefits. If you are in this situation, it is important to know that a denied claim is not the end of the road.
Everyone has the opportunity to appeal a denied claim. Like the initial application, the appeals process is not always easy to navigate. To give yourself a strong chance at a successful appeal, it may be wise to work with an attorney who has experience handling SSD appeals.
The first step in the appeals process is the reconsideration. After you file an appeal, your claim will be reviewed by someone who was not involved in our original claim. That person will consider the original evidence you provided as well as any new evidence that may support your claim and make a decision. If he or she overturns the original denial, you will begin receiving benefits. If not, you can move on the next step: the administrative law judge hearing.
Again, a judge who played no role in the original decision to deny your benefits claim will oversee the hearing. You will most likely have to appear in person for your hearing, although it may be possible to conduct the hearing by video conference. At the hearing, your claim will be reviewed and you will be questioned about your disability. You may bring witnesses to help support your case. Following the hearing, the judge will decide to approve or deny your claim.
If your claim is denied yet again, you can request that your claim be reviewed by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council has the discretion to review your case or determine that the administrative law judge’s decision was correct. If it denies your claim yet again, there is one last possibility for seeking benefits.
The final step is to file a federal lawsuit. At this point, a judge can deny your claim, approve it or send it back to an administrative law judge for another hearing.
Going through the complete process of appealing a denied SSD claim can be a treacherous journey. Working with a lawyer ensures that there is always someone on your side who understands the law and is ready to advocate for you.