How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

What Should I do if I’m denied at an disability hearing?

Subject: Disability Hearing

Question: What do I do if I am denied at my ALJ disability hearing?

If your claim is denied at the hearing level you have two choices. You can file an "Appeals Council Review" appeal to have the administrative law judge’s disability hearing decision reviewed for errors. Or you can start a new disability claim.

If you have a disability representative or disability lawyer representing your case, they should be able to advise you of the correct choice. If you choose the appeals council review, you will have to wait until they make a decision before filing a new disability claim. And, most of these appeals result in no change to the ALJ's decision.

While it is possible they may review the judge's decision and issue an approval, very often they will choose not to review the decision, which is basically a denial. And if they do review it, the outcome may only be a remanded case. Meaning you will have a second disability hearing. Probably with the same ALJ, or administrative law judge.

Note: if your hearing denial occurred after the date you were last insured for disability, you may want to file an appeal with the appeals council, as it may be your last chance to be approved for Social Security Disability. You may still be eligible for SSI disability provided you are able to meet the income and resource limits of this need based disability program.

What do you do if the appeals council denies you? If your Appeals Council appeal is denied, you can file a case in Federal Court or file a new disability claim.

If you are not past your date last insured, you may wish to forgo the Appeals Council Review in favor of filing a new claim. If you choose to forgo the appeal, your new disability claim will begin with a date of onset that is one day after your disability hearing decision date. Social Security cannot establish your disability any earlier because the judge has already determined that you were not disabled through the date of your disability hearing.

Again, if you have the services of a disability lawyer or representative, discuss it with them and see which path they feel would be best.

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These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.