Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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What is the process to file a Social Security Disability appeal?
If you have received a decisional denial letter on your social security disability or SSI claim from Social Security, you must contact Social Security to file a disability appeal within the sixty-day appeal process. You are allowed five additional days for mailing, so the actual appeal timeframe for appealing a denied disability claim is sixty-five days.
The social security disability appeal process involves four levels, which are as follows: request for reconsideration, the disability hearing request, the Appeals Council review, and Federal District Court. A large percentage of claimants are lucky enough to have their case finally approved when it is presented before an administrative law judge at the hearing level. But, nonetheless, roughly half of all cases heard by ALJs are denied.
If you are denied by an ALJ, you should apply for a new initial social security disability or SSI claim. You may also request that the appeals council in Falls Church Virginia review the decision of the judge in your case. However, the appeals council rarely overturns judge's decisions and for this reason you should file your new claim and your request for an appeals council review simultaneously.
Starting the process to file a social security disability appeal is simple. Simply contact the social security administration and request the appeal. SSA will then send you your paperwork. If you are represented by a social security attorney, your attorney will do all of this for you.
Timeliness, of course, is key. If you do not have your appeal paperwork turned in to the social security office by the formal deadline, and do not have good cause for a late appeal (such as illness, infirmity, or very extenuating family circumstances), you will be forced to begin the process from scratch.
Is the process for evaluating a social security disability or SSI disability appeal substantially different than evaluating an initial disability application? Answer: it depends. The first appeal, the request for reconsideration, is nearly indistinguishable from the disability application. The reconsideration appeal is handled by the same agency that processes the initial claim, only this time a different disability examiner is assigned to the case.
The second appeal in the system, however, is markedly different from everything that has happened at earlier levels of the system, including the reconsideration appeal. This appeal, the request for hearing before an administrative law judge, involves a face-to-face meeting between the claimant, a federal administrative law judge, and, if the claimant is represented, a disability lawyer.
At the hearing, the claimant may be asked questions regarding their functional restrictions and prior work history. They may also present information of a medical or vocational (work-related) nature to the judge which was not previously considered by the social security administration.
Because claimants may be represented at hearings by qualified representatives and because the entire nature of a non-adversarial hearing is inherently different than the process employed by the social security administration at the initial claim and reconsideration levels, most represented individuals manage to win their cases at hearings.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria