What To Do if You Have Been Denied Social Security
If your initial application for SSD benefits was denied, you should look into hiring an attorney who has experience handling Social Security Disability claims, to help you compile the necessary documentation so you can receive benefits following a successful appeal.
Stage One: ReconsiderationAt the reconsideration level, claims examiners and physicians who were not involved in the review of your initial application will go through your claim file, your statement as to why you disagree with the Administration’s adverse decision, and any new evidence that you submit. If the new examiners find that you are eligible to receive SSD benefits, your claim will be approved.
Stage Two: SSD HearingsIf applicants are denied a second time after the reconsideration stage, that decision can be appealed with the request of a hearing. Once you have filed your request for a hearing, it may take approximately fifteen months or so for the hearing to be scheduled. Hearings are generally held in person within a reasonable distance of your home, with some exceptions. At the hearing, you, or you and your SSD attorney, will present your case to an Administrative Law Judge who hears the case. At the hearing, additional documentation and materials will come into play, including: affidavits, and witness statements. In some cases, medical or vocational experts may be asked to testify, and you and/or your attorney will be given the opportunity to question these experts as well.
Stage Three: Appeals Council ReviewsIf your claim is denied at your SSD hearing, you can still request an Appeals Council Review of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision and continue your efforts to pursue benefits.
Although these stages and processes may sound intimidating, remember that a substantial amount of people who have been denied SSD are later approved at one of the appeals levels. If you firmly believe you are disabled, your time and patience may pay off in an appeal; and if you hire representation, that could end up being money well spent.