Appealing Your SSDI or SSI Denial

As much as half of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are denied every year. What many people do not realize, however, is that getting your application for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is not necessarily the end of the road. Here is what you need to know if you are interesting in appealing your SSDI or SSI denial:

  1. You can have your claim reconsidered
    • The most basic form of appeal is known as reconsideration, which effectively means that your claim will be reviewed by someone other than the person who initially reviewed your claim. This is the most basic type of appeal, but it can be a surprisingly effective one. Sometimes, all you need to get approval is to get someone else’s eyes on your case.
  2. An administrative law judge can review your claim
    • If getting your claim reconsidered does not work, you can then have your denial reviewed by an administrative law judge. This judge operates under the SSA and works exclusively on adjudicating Social Security benefits claims. The judge will conduct a hearing on your case, and determine whether denial was appropriate. This judge cannot have had a hand in your initial claim or reconsideration, giving you an additional chance to make your case.
  3. You can then appeal to the Appeals Council
    • The SSA has an internal Appeals Council, which is one step above the administrative law judge who previously heard your case. They are the highest authority within the SSA itself, and will make a determination based on whatever evidence you present to them. They can choose to rule on your case, or send it back down to an administrative law judge for further hearings.
  4. If that does not work, you can appeal to a Federal Court
    • If the Appeals Council does not take up your appeal, or they deny you again, you can still seek an appeal through the Federal Court system. This involves filing a suit against the SSA for denying your claims. This can seem like an extreme measure, but for some people, it can be a successful way of getting the SSDI or SSI benefits you have been denied.
  5. If all else fails, you can apply again
    • Even if your claim is ultimately denied, even after that appeals process, that doesn’t mean you will never get disability benefits. Once six months have passed, you can attempt to apply again for SSDI or SSI benefits. However, the best way to avoid this long process is to make sure your application is reviewed by a lawyer knowledgeable in Social Security law, who can work with you to maximize your chances of being approved.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.

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