A Closer Look at the Four Levels of the Social Security Appeals Process

If your initial Social Security disability claim is denied, you are not alone. Two out of three initial claims for disability benefits are denied, and the majority of applicants must begin the appeals process before securing their rightful payments.

But what happens if your appeal is denied? Many people are not aware that there are generally four levels of appeal when it comes to SSDI benefits and that it is far better to appeal than to restart your application process. Below, we’ve outlined each of the four steps on the appeals ladder:

•    Request for Reconsideration. The first step you will take after receiving notice of your denied claim is to contact your local Social Security field office and request reconsideration. During this process, Disability Determination Services (DSS) will take a second look at your claim with the help of a new medical consultant and examiner.
•    Administrative Law Judge Hearing. Next, if your claim is still denied, you will take your case to an administrative law judge through the Social Security Administration’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. You will need to appear in person at this hearing and answer questions about your claim.
•    Appeals Council Claim Review. If you can argue that there was a flaw in your Administrative Law Judge hearing, you may be granted an Appeals Council claim review. Not all cases are selected for review and very few are granted benefits at this level.
•    United States Federal Court Review. This is the highest level of appeal and involves filing a lawsuit regarding your claim in federal court. A judge will hear your case, listen to doctor testimony, evaluate your ability to work, and make a final decision. This appeal can be difficult and time-consuming.

While some take on the lower levels of appeal by themselves, it becomes increasingly more important and helpful to have a legal advocate as you climb the appeals ladder. If you need assistance with your Social Security disability appeal, speak with a Texas disability claim attorney at Morgan & Weisbrod today. We offer free, confidential case evaluations. Just call 877-898-1581to schedule.
 

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law