Deciding to file for disability benefits is not always an easy choice. Even when you strongly believe that you qualify for Social Security disability and find it necessary to obtain these benefits, it is a major step to file for these benefits. The process requires much evidence and documentation, making it an overwhelming process. However, applicants shouldn’t let the application process or the fear of being denied deter them from applying. The ability to seek reconsideration or file an appeal is not as daunting as some might think.
What is the appeals process for a denied SSD claim? Although the Social Security Administration carefully considers all the information provided in an application, this does not mean details aren’t overlooked or mistakes made. Additionally, an incomplete application does not mean that an applicant is out of luck. The appeals process is used to address these and other issues that could have occurred after an initial filing.
It should be noted that there are four stages or levels in the appeals process. The first is reconsideration. This entails a complete review of the initial claim, which is conducted by someone who did not take part in the first decision. If this does not result in a favorable decision, the next level is to request a hearing by an administrative law judge. An applicant is allowed to provide additional evidence and information as well as utilize witnesses.
If this hearing does not result in a favorable result, the next step is to request a review by the Appeals Council. If they believe the hearing decision was correct, they may deny the request for review. However, if they decide to review the case, they will either make a decision on the matter or return it to an administrative law judge for further review. If this does not result in a favorable result, the next step is to seek federal court review, which means an applicant is filing a lawsuit in a federal district court.
The appeals process may seem like a lengthy process, and depending on how many levels one needs to travel up, it could take some time to obtain a favorable decision. Nonetheless, it is important that applicants fully understand the process and their rights. This will ensure their interests are protected and they are ale to recover the benefits they are entitled to.