When an application for disability benefits is denied, it oftentimes leaves applicants feeling frustrated and unsure about their future. A thousand questions may instantly start running through their heads like the one we pose in today's blog post title. Without help from an attorney or someone knowledgeable in the Social Security system, these questions may never find answers, which is incredibly problematic because it could mean a disabled person never receives the benefits they deserve either.
To help quell frustrations and answer at least one question our readers might be asking, we'd like to talk today about the appeals process specifically for Supplemental Security Income applications.
To start off with, it's important for our readers to know that not all applications for disability benefits are approved the first time. In some cases, this may occur because a worker at the Social Security Administration wasn't paying close enough attention to your claim. In other cases, SSA may feel that you don't meet the necessary requirements to collect benefits. Whatever the reason, it's important to know that if your claim is denied, you do have the right to appeal.
There are four levels to the appeals process. They are:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge
- Appeals Council review
- Federal court
At each level of the appeals process, your application will be subject to constant review and reconsideration, taking all facts of the case into consideration, including any past decisions on your case. For many people, providing additional information about their condition and the impact it has on their finances helps SSA reviewers make a more educated decision about the application. In some cases, this has led to a favorable decision.
Just as you have the right to appeal a denied decision, you also have the right to legal representation as well. Although they are an added expense, many people have considered their decision to hire an attorney worth it, especially because it can help reach a favorable decision in the end.
Source: The Social Security Administration, "Your Right To Question A Decision Made On Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claim," Accessed Jan. 27, 2015