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

Can you still Appeal if the Judge denies your Disability Claim?

Disability claims filed with Social Security usually proceed in one of two different ways. Either the claimant is approved for disability benefits after filing a disability application, or the claimant will be denied and will then face the decision of A) giving up on their claim, B) filing a new claim, or C) or filing an appeal.

The first disability appeal is the request for reconsideration, a step that is practically identical to the initial claim (i.e. the disability claim). Most claims that are reviewed at the reconsideration level are denied, just as with the initial claim.

The second appeal is the hearing which is held at a federal hearing office (formerly known as the office of hearings and appeals and now known as the office of disability adjudication and review). Primarily, the disability hearing involves the claimant, a disability attorney, and an administrative law judge. In cases where claimants are represented, the majority of claims are won.

However, claimants who do not have a disability representative are denied at up to a sixty percent rate, and even claimants who have representation are sometimes denied as well (the denial rate for represented claimants is lower, roughly 40 percent).

If you are denied by a disability judge, can you still appeal? Yes, in fact there are two levels of appeal beyond the hearing level. The first level of appeal after the hearing level is conducted at the appeals council. The appeals council is located in Falls Church, Virginia and one of its primary purposes is to evaluate decisions made by administrative law judges. When a case is sent to the appeals council, there are three separate outcomes.

1. The case can be overturned and approved. This rarely happens.

2. The appeals council can respond by stating that the request to review the decision of the administrative law judge has been denied. In other words, the appeals council is notifying the claimant (and/or their attorney) that they will do nothing.

3. The appeals council may send a notice stating that the case will be remanded. When a case is remanded, it is sent back for a second hearing. Unfortunately, this second hearing tends to be with the same disability judge who denied the case in the first place. Despite this fact, however, many remand hearings do result in approvals, particularly if the appeals council has notified the adminstrative law judge that they failed to consider a key piece of medical evidence in the disability claimant's file.

The next appeal level that exists beyond the disability hearing level is federal district court. Relatively few cases proceed to this appeal level. Also, district court is the only level in the disability appeal system where the claimant's chosen representative must be a disability lawyer versus being a non-attorney claimant's representative (though, oddly enough, a claimant can proceed pro se, meaning unrepresented).

If the judge denies your claim, is it better to appeal or to start over with a new claim? Very often, a claimant's attorney will advise them to do both. This is because cases that are sent to the appeals council can stay there for well over a year and, very often, a claimant will receive an answer on their new disability claim before they receive a decision from the appeals council on their old claim.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Social Security Disability and Going In Front Of A Judge - What Happens?
Do Most People Need To See A Judge To Get Disability Benefits From Social Security?
Can you still Appeal if the Judge denies your Disability Claim?
Is An ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) More Likely To Grant A Claim For Social Security Disability or SSI?
How Long Does It Take To Go Before A Judge For Disability Benefits?
Does The Social Security Judge Use The Same Rules As The Disability Examiner?
How do I see a judge for my Social Security Disability case or SSI Claim?
Do you have to see a judge to get disability benefits?
When do you see a judge for a Social Security Disability or SSI claim?
What Percentage Of Social Security Disability or SSI Cases Does A Judge Deny?
Do you get SSI back benefits from the time you were disabled?
Disability claim at reconsideration appeal level
Applying for Disability in Missouri
Will I qualify for SSI disability in Missouri?
Applying for SSI benefits in Missouri

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.