For many people, the SSDI appeals process can be difficult to navigate. After receiving a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is important to know what steps you need to take to appeal your claim for disability benefits. Keep reading to learn what the process entails.
When the SSA denies your claim, you have 60 days to submit a request for a reconsideration. It’s possible to do this process online or by mail, and it requires that you provide more evidence than what was originally submitted with your SSDI application to show why you should receive disability benefits. The person who will review your case will be different from the one who denied the claim.
During the process, you may need assistance from a representative, such as an SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) caseworker. This is totally fine. Your representative will work with the SSA and help you file all the necessary paperwork. Eventually, you’ll receive a decision on your claim.
Administrative law judge hearing
If your claim is denied again, you can ask for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This stage of the appeals process requires that you attend a face-to-face meeting with a judge who will listen to why you think you should receive disability benefits. The judge will review your medical records and any additional evidence you provide. You’ll have this opportunity before the SSA makes its final decision on your claim.
If the SSA denies you again, a SOAR-trained caseworker would be extremely beneficial because he or she will continue helping with the appeal process until you receive a final decision.
If your claim is denied again, you can request a review by the Appeals Council. This stage requires that you submit a request for an appeal. The Appeals Council will review the case to determine if the ALJ made a mistake in his or her decision or that there is new evidence worth considering before making a final determination on your claim for SSDI benefits.
Clearly, the SSDI appeals process is not easy. However, it is possible to complete successfully with enough support and understanding of the process.