Generally, there are four different levels of appeal when it comes to your Social Security disability claim. You may have the right to appeal your Social Security disability claim in a:
- Request for consideration
- Administrative law judge hearing
- Appeals Council proceeding
- Federal Court review
Although this means, in theory, that you have four different opportunities to appeal your case, it does not necessarily mean that you can or should appeal at each level. In most cases, claimants who have their initial appeal denied will appeal twice: they will file a request for consideration (the Social Security Administration (SSA) only grants about five percent of these requests), and they will go to an administrative law judge hearing.
The Appeals Council selects disability claim cases to review—and often it chooses cases in which an interesting issue is raised or in which substantial evidence has come to light. Only a handful of cases find success at this level.
After the Appeals Council, you may file a lawsuit against the SSA in federal court. Although this option gives you a better chance at success than the Appeals Council, it can be a long and possibly expensive process.
Make the Social Security Disability Appeals Decisions That Benefit You
Your aim should be to appeal as few times as possible because your ultimate goal is to get the fair Social Security disability benefits you deserve quickly. Thus, it is important to put in as much work as you can to get your application approved the first time or at the next level of appeal so that you can avoid the time, the expense, and the frustration of further appeals.
To find out more about the appeals that you should file and about how to protect your rights, please contact a board certified disability lawyer today for more information. We will help you make the right decisions about your claim.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.