In Maryland, when a person is suffering from a condition or illness that leaves them unable to work, they are wise to think about applying for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits can help them as they try to recover and free them from worrying about getting medical treatment and making ends meet.
However, many people who apply will have their claim denied. There are myriad reasons as to why this might happen. It is understandably disappointing and worrisome. Still, there are options to appeal the case. Knowing the steps and being prepared is key from the beginning.
There are 4 levels of appeal for a denied SSD claim
When an SSD claim has been denied, the applicant has four levels of appeal to try and get approved:
- An Administrative Law Judge hearing
- An Appeals Council Review
- A Federal Court review
Through reconsideration, the entire case is given a fresh look by someone who had no connection to the initial claim. The evidence will again be assessed and the applicant can present new evidence. The reason for the denial is important when asking for reconsideration. If the person was denied because they were said not to have met the medical threshold for being disabled, the request goes to the Disability Determination Services in the state.
If the reconsideration is denied, an Administrative Law Judge is the next level of appeal. The ALJ will analyze the evidence again and decide. The Appeals Council is the third step. The Appeals Council can refuse to hear the case. If it agrees to hear it, it either decides on its own or sends it back to the ALJ. Finally, there is a Federal Court review. It is a civil action to try and get SSD benefits.
A denied claim does not mean the case is over
There are time limits to file an appeal after a denied Social Security Disability claim, so it is imperative to act quickly. In general, the person will have 60 days from the initial notification that the case was denied. Denials can happen due to a disagreement about the medical evidence or they can even happen because of missteps in the application process.
For those who think the appeal will not succeed, many people have appealed a denied claim at every level and eventually been approved. Knowing the alternatives, time constraints and how to move forward with the appeal is vital.