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

How to file a disability appeal in New Jersey

There are several ways to appeal a denial of a claim if you have applied for Social Security Disability or SSI in New Jersey, or if you have filed your first appeal (a reconsideration request) and need to file your second appeal (a request for a disability hearing).

1. The first way would be to call the SSA toll-free line at 1-800-772-1213. My own advice, as a former disability examiner, would be to never call this number. It has been the experience of many individuals who have worked to assist disability claimants, including myself, that the toll-free services operated by SSA often lead to incorrect information being provided to claimants, sometimes with unfortunate and time-costly results.

2. The second way to file an appeal would be to simply contact the social security office where you did your application for disability (or did a prior appeal), either by phone, or by visiting that local office in person. After you contact the social security office, they can either send you the necessary appeal forms for you to return to them (in person or by mail), OR you can print these forms yourself from the social security website and then return them to the social security office.

Printing them yourself will save you a few days time that would be consumed by mail, but if you print your own forms you will need to make sure that A) you print the correct forms from the SSA site and also B) that you print out the medical release forms (form SSA-827) that social security will need from you to obtain any additional medical records. For most people, it will probably be less problematic to simply contact the social security office and have them mail the appeal forms and the medical release forms to you.

3. The third way, and the simplest way, to file an appeal would be to have your New Jersey disability attorney, or non-attorney disability representative, assuming you are represented, do the appeal.

Individuals who have already been denied and are now at the reconsideration appeal stage OR have been denied on a reconsideration and need to file a request for a social security hearing should probably consider getting representation. Of course, if you are represented, your designated representative should handle your appeal paperwork for you.

Note: There are some attorneys and representatives in New Jersey who actually put in a strong effort toward winning a claim at the disability application level--so, yes, sometimes having a lawyer at the earliest stage possible can be of great benefit, but it really depends on getting a pro-active person to represent your claim.

If you are represented and receive a notice of disapproved claim (i.e. a notice of denial), then your first step should be to contact your disability lawyer (or your non-attorney advocate if this is the case) and advise them that you have been denied. Your rep will usually receive copies of whatever notice you receive, but this does not always happen and sometimes the claimant will get the notice first; therefore calling is always a good idea to ensure that both parties know exactly what is happening on the case.

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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.