If you are one of the many people every year who applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and gets denied, you may be wondering what your next steps are. Many people, sadly, do not know what to do, and languish believing they are entirely out of luck. Fortunately, you can appeal your denial and potentially get access to the benefits you deserve. Here are the four steps you can take when appealing your SSDI/SSI application denial:
- Apply for reconsideration
- This most basic form of appeal is, quite simply, asking to have your application reviewed by someone other than the first person who reviewed your application. While this may seem overly simple, the fact of the matter is that every individual who reviews applications applies their own judgment, and some may be more accepting of your application than others. When appealing your SSDI/SSI application, this is always where you start.
- Ask for a hearing from an administrative judge
- If having your application reconsidered does not go well, you can ask to have your application heard before an administrative judge. This judge works for the Social Security Administration (SSA), and will be someone who has not yet seen your application. When appealing your decision to an administrative judge, you have an opportunity to discuss your issues with them directly and address any issues they may have with your application, potentially giving you an additional chance at success.
- Seek review from the Appeals Council
- In the event that appealing to an administrative judge does not work, the next step is to appeal to the aptly named Appeals Council. This Council is the highest authority within the SSA itself, and can decide whether it wishes to review your application or send it back down to another administrative judge. Generally speaking, their concern is whether or not those below them adhered to proper administrative procedure, and may rule in your favor if they found that those at lower levels violated your legal or procedural rights.
- Appeal to a federal court judge
- When all else fails, you can escalate your case to a federal court. Doing this, however, is a serious matter that requires specific legal expertise. That is why you should not appeal your SSDI/SSI application denial without the aid of a lawyer with experience handling disability appeals cases. The sooner you contact a Social Security disability lawyer, the sooner they can get to work on helping you get the benefits you deserve.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe are here to help anyone applying for Social Security disability benefits. Our Social Security disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.