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Here are the steps in appealing a disability claim denial

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Firm News

If you’ve been disabled by an injury or medical condition, then your inability to work can make life difficult. You might struggle to pay for your medical care and your basic necessities, which can shroud your life in uncertainty, and the stress of it all can take a significant mental toll.

Fortunately, the Social Security Disability system might provide you with the relief that you need. In order to recover these benefits, though, you’ll have to demonstrate that you meet certain criteria, which has many aspects that are unique to your specific disabling condition.

While you’ll want to be thorough here, you should also be prepared for a claim denial. After all, a lot of disability claims are initially denied for a variety of reasons, which can threaten the financial stability that you seek.

Even if your claim is denied, there could still be an avenue for you to recover the benefits you need. This is because you have the ability to appeal your claim denial.

The steps in the disability claim appeal process

There are multiple steps to the appellate process. Let’s take a look at them here:

  • Reconsideration: Once you’ve received notice of your claim denial, you have 60-days to request reconsideration. Here, an individual or a team of individuals who were not involved in the initial determination of your claim will review the evidence that was presented along with any additional evidence that you submit. Once that review is conducted, the reconsideration can result in an affirmation of the original determination or reverse the initial determination.
  • Administrative hearing: If you disagree with the outcome of your reconsideration, then you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. This hearing is informal, but you can bring witnesses who can testify on your behalf. The administrative law judge will review the evidence and question the witnesses, and then will issue a written determination.
  • Appeals Council review: If you disagree with the decision issued by the administrative law judge, then you can request review of that decision by the Appeals Council. The council can deny your request for review if they think that the administrative law judge’s decision was correct, or they can agree to review your claim. They can also send the matter back to the administrative law judge for further consideration. When the Appeals Council reviews your claim, they’re limited to the evidence that was presented to the administrative law judge.
  • Appealing to a federal district court: Your last appellate option is to seek judicial review in federal court. At this level, you won’t be allowed to present new evidence. Instead, the federal court will merely review the record from your administrative hearing, taking into account all evidence that was presented at that time. Although most of these cases affirm the administrative law judge’s decision, there’s still a significant possibility that that determination will be reversed or that the matter will be remanded back to the administrative law judge with instructions on how to reconsider the case.

Are you ready to protect your interests?

The outcome of your disability claim can have a tremendous impact on your future. That’s why you need to do everything you can to develop a thorough and well thought out case.

But even if you don’t obtain the desired outcome the first time around, you may still have the ability to secure the benefits you need through the various appellate avenues mentioned above.