Steps to follow after Social Security Disability is Denied in Illinois

Point 1 - If you get denied for disability, your first thought should be this: appeal. Appeals are, by and far, a much better option than doing what so many claimants mistakenly do, which is to file a new disability application and start over from scratch. As a disability examiner, I saw this more times than I could count. A claimant would get denied and would file a new disability application.

The question I always had to ask was, "why did they think the second disability application in Illinois would be treated any differently than the first". In almost all instances, it is treated exactly the same way, i.e. it is denied again. A claimant who has been denied should appeal.

And, ultimately, the goal of going through the appeals process is simply to get your case before an adminsitrative law judge. Yes, a percentage of cases are won at the first appeal step (the social security request for reconsideration); however, this is an exceedingly small percentage. This is why I have always told claimants the following - file your request for reconsideration and if you get approved on the recon, fantastic. But pretty much expect to be denied at this level. Resources:

1. Denied on a disability application do you have to file a new application?
2. Difference Between Filing New Disability Claim And Filing A Disability Appeal?
3. Filing a Social Security Disability application
4. Denied for Disability, Should you File a new Application or File an Appeal?

After being denied on the recon, though, you can request a disability hearing, where, if you do what's necessary to prepare for your disability hearing, you can expect a favorable chance of winning your claim.

Point 2 - Move along quickly. Yes, its not enough to file a Social Security Disability appeal after your case has been denied. You need to do it fast. Why? Because, if you're like most claimants, your finances by this time are in very bad shape. Social security gives you 60 days to file a disability appeal. But why wait this long? Get it done immediately. And by immediately, I mean within several days of getting your disability notice of appeal.

If you have an attorney, call their office as soon as you receive your denial notice and have them file your appeal for you. Tip: Sometimes your attorney's office may feel pretty backed up so they may decide to "get to your appeal" when its convenient for them. Guess what? Whether they're "backed up" or not is of no importance to you. INSIST that your appeal request be sent out immediately and, furthermore, insist that you are sent a copy of the appeal paperwork so you can verify that the appeal has been done. As I said before, the process for disability takes a long time. But why let it take any longer than it has to, right?

Point 3 - If you don't have representation once you have been denied, seriously consider getting it. Cases with representation win at a higher rate because, at a hearing, they are better prepared. No ifs ands or buts.

But should you get just any representative? No. Your representative can be a disability lawyer or a non-attorney; however, the person you choose should have a fair amount of experience in dealing with the system. For example, would you want to be represented at a hearing by an attorney who primarily handles wills and estates, or DUIs, and only does three or four Social Security Disability and SSI disability cases per year? Of course not. You want someone who actually knows how the federal disability system works.

You also want someone who is familiar with the hearing office and the judges where your case will be heard. And a rep who only does 3-4 disability cases per year, on the side, will not have the expertise that you should demand in your representative.


1. How long does it take to get a disability hearing scheduled?
2. How long does it take to get a disability hearing?
3. How long does it take to get a decision after a disability hearing?
4. How to get a disability hearing scheduled faster?
5. Getting a faster disability hearing scheduled
6. Can an attorney get you a faster disability hearing?
7. Disability hearing decision timeframe
8. ALJ disability hearing decisions
9. What to expect at a disability hearing
10. What happens when you go to a disability hearing?
11. After a disability hearing, what happens?

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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