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How does the Social Security Disability appeals process work?

You filed your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim carefully and waited…and waited some more. After a long time with very little contact from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you finally got a letter in the mail in response.

Your claim was denied. What now? Well, you have to file an appeal

Your initial claim is just the first step in a long process

Disability applications get denied for many reasons. Moreover, allowances for disability claims have been steadily declining over the years, so you definitely aren’t alone. It often takes a lot of perseverance to have any success.

Once you receive an initial denial in the mail, here’s what comes next:

  • You file an appeal. The initial appeal on a denied claim is called a reconsideration. That will return your claim to the state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) for a second look. Once there, it will go to a new claims examiner and be reviewed by a new team in an effort to reduce errors.
  • You request a hearing. If your disability claim is approved through the reconsideration process you’re essentially done with that part of the claim. If not, however, you’ll need to file a second appeal and ask an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to hear your case.

It takes a long time to get a hearing date in front of an ALJ, and many people are intimidated at the thought of talking to a judge. You shouldn’t be. It’s your one shot at talking face-to-face to a human being who actually has the power to grant your claim.

Get help with your SSD denial

When you’re suffering from medical problems that make it impossible to work, you certainly don’t have the energy to manage everything that goes along with an SSD application. Getting some help with your Social Security Disability claim from an experienced attorney can improve your chances of an approval.