Those who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can count on a monthly check to help them cover their cost-of-living expenses until they recover or reach retirement age. After 65, an SSDI recipient can convert their claim to a retirement benefits claim.
If you have a medical condition serious enough to potentially qualify for SSDI benefits, it may have been weeks since you were able to do your normal job. You may already have past-due bills and mounting medical expenses, so the denial of your claim can seem like a major hardship. After all, you don’t have anywhere else to turn for financial support at this time.
Thankfully, there is an appeals process available to help you get benefits going back to when you initially applied or qualified. What does the appeals process involve?
A reconsideration is the first step
When someone requests an appeal of a denied SSDI claim, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will first have a different worker review their application. Sometimes mistakes or personal bias can lead to a denial when a person should qualify.
A small percentage of applicants will receive their benefits after reconsideration. Others will need to pursue additional appeal stages to potentially get the benefits they need.
A hearing in court is the second step
The next appeal stage after reconsideration involves going to court. You get to present your case, including new medical evidence, to an administrative law judge.
You’ll have an opportunity to correct mistakes in your application and gather more medical evidence before your hearing. If successful, your appeal can mean getting benefits going all the way back to when you first applied, even if you have to wait months for your hearing. What if a judge does not reverse the decision and approve your benefits?
There are two higher appeals available
After an administrative law judge rejects your appeal, you can request a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council has the authority either to approve your benefits or to make notes and return the case to an administrative law judge. Even if the Appeals Council does not approve your benefits claim, you could potentially ask for a review in federal court.
Knowing the steps involved in a Social Security Disability appeal can help you get benefits when you have a medical issue that prevents you from working and supporting yourself.