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Steps involved in appealing a disability claim denial

If you initially receive a denial of your claim for Social Security Disability benefits, you should not give up. According to AARP, approximately 33% of workers who eventually receive benefits initially received denials.

If you receive a denial of your disability claim, there is a process for appeals. The first step is a reconsideration.

What are the grounds for requesting a reconsideration?

According to the Social Security Administration, you can request a reconsideration for a denial of your claim based on either a non-medical or medical determination. You may have received a denial based on a non-medical determination based on your living arrangements, income or resources.

What happens upon receipt of your request?

Regardless of your reasons for requesting a reconsideration, the request goes from the SSA to officials at the state Disability Determination Services. The medical team and examiner who review your claim are different from the ones who issued you the denial originally, meaning that they can look at your claim with fresh eyes.

How do you request a reconsideration?

The SSA provides forms that you can fill out and mail in to request a reconsideration. You may also submit your request online. When you submit your request, you can also include new evidence to support your claim, if available.

What happens if you receive a denial upon reconsideration?

If a reconsideration results in another denial, the next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. This allows you to give testimony in addition to submitting evidence to support your claim.

While the hearing itself may last less than an hour, it can be up to 15 months after submitting your request to get a court date, and several more months to receive a decision.