The Social Security Disability Appeals Process

If your Social Security disability claim has been denied, do not get discouraged and do not give up. Once an application has been denied, you will want to appeal that decision to keep your claim for benefits open.

The appeals process consists of several steps and the most important thing when filing an appeal is to make sure you do so within the specific time frame the Social Security Administration gives you. If you fail to do so, you risk having to start the disability process all over again; beginning with a new application. You may lose some or all of your accrued back benefit.

The appeals process:

•Request for hearing: In Pennsylvania (as in 10 other states), the next step after your application has been denied is to file a Request for Hearing in front an Administrative Law Judge. In other states such as Ohio and West Virginia, the first step is to file a Request for Reconsideration. If that is denied, then you will file a Request for Hearing. All appeals must be filed within 60 days of the denial.

•A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge: After you file your Request for hearing, you will later attend a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Success is very possible at this stage because you will appear before an independent judge and tell him or her about your disability in your own words.

•Appeals Council: If you are unsuccessful at your Social Security disability hearing you may appeal your case to the Appeals Council. At the Appeals Council your claim will be reviewed once more to see if the judge made an error in their decision. No new medical evidence is taken into consideration at this point.

•Federal District Court: If you are unsuccessful at the Appeals Council you may appeal your case to Federal District Court. You will be bringing a civil suit seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administration’s final decision.

If you have been denied benefits, do not give up. Going through the Social Security disability process can be complex. That is why it is important to contact a Social Security disability attorney to guide you through the process. At Berger and Green we can appeal your Social Security disability decision for you and represent you in your hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Contact Berger and Green today for a free no obligation consultation.