If you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program or Supplemental Security Income program and have been denied, do not lose all hope; there is an appeals process that may help you get benefits. In fact, the Social Security Administration denies many applicants their first time around. Yet, despite the many denials, millions of Americans, including many in the Newark area, have been able to get approval and now get the benefits that they need from the program.
The appeals process has four levels: reconsideration, a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, a review by the Social Security Administration Appeals Council, and the filing of a claim in federal court.
These steps may seem intimidating and complicated. Add to it the fact that those who are applying are already suffering from a physical or mental illness or injury. Thankfully, in addition to law firms, many of whom will give applicants a free consultation and will not collect money unless the client is successful, there are social organizations that may also help. The list is available on the SSA’s website.
It is important to make it clear to the Social Security Administration that your illness or injury qualifies, you are unable to work because of it, and that the injury or illness is terminal or expected to last more than a year. If you do not meet all of those conditions, it is highly unlikely that you will ever be approved for disability benefits. Preparing yourself well in advance and knowing what to expect are crucial first steps in obtaining the benefits you deserve. If the SSA denies an application, however, the applicant should understand their options for appealing the decision.
Source: FindLaw, “Basics of Social Security Disability Appeals,” Accessed Sept. 14, 2015