I Was Denied Social Security Disability: Now What?
If you recently suffered a debilitating injury or you were diagnosed with a disabling disease, you might have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, commonly known as SSDI benefits. You may have applied for disability benefits and provided what you believed to be full and complete documentation, and you might have been surprised and dismayed to receive a denial of benefits. You should know that many people who apply for SSDI benefits are denied, especially when they seek benefits without assistance from a national disability benefits attorney. There are many different intricacies in the SSDI application process, and it can be easy to make a mistake without realizing that you could be denied benefits. The good news is that you can appeal a benefits denial with help from a lawyer.
The following are the steps you can and should take if you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
- Request for Reconsideration
There are four different levels of the appeals process when you have been denied SSDI benefits. The first step in appealing your denial is to submit a request for reconsideration. When you submit a request for reconsideration, you are asking the SSA to reconsider the original claim that you submitted. It will be an entirely new review of your materials, however, and it will be reviewed by parties who were not involved in the original review of your claim that resulted in the denial of benefits. The review will take place through Disability Determination Services (DDS), and the DDS tends to award benefits in anywhere from 10 percent to 15 percent of the claims it reviews upon reconsideration.
- Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
If your SSDI claim is denied at the stage of reconsideration, you can appeal again, but this time you will be appealing to have a hearing before an administrative law judge (or an ALJ). In order to have a hearing before an ALJ, you will need to request that hearing within 60 days from the date you receive notice of your denial of benefits following reconsideration.
The hearing before the ALJ will seem a lot like presenting your case in a court before any other type of judge. It will be critical to have an experienced national disability benefits attorney on your side who can ensure that you do everything possible to prove your eligibility for benefits at the hearing.
- Request an Appeals Council Review
If the ALJ denies your application for benefits after the hearing, you have a third stage of review that you can use to appeal your case. This time, you will need to request a review by the Appeals Council. However, unlike a request for reconsideration and a hearing before the ALJ, you are not guaranteed to be selected for review. To be sure, the Appeals Council has the ability to select the cases it reviews, and it is allowed to deny your request for review unless there has been a serious error in your case (such as an abuse of discretion or a serious mistake made by the ALJ).
- Filing a Lawsuit in Federal Court
The final option for review is to file a lawsuit in federal court, and you should always have a lawyer on your side to assist with this complex process.
Contact Our National Disability Benefits Lawyers
If you need to appeal a denial of benefits, a national Social Security disability attorney at our firm can help. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz today for more information.