In California, many people who seek Social Security Disability benefits are initially denied. Fortunately, there are options to appeal the denied claim and potentially be approved for benefits. The first level of appeal is asking for reconsideration. If that is denied, then the case can be appealed again with a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This is designed to be a fair and evenhanded process before a person who had no role in the prior decisions and holds no preconceived notions about the applicant or the case itself. However, as with every aspect of life, people sometimes allow other influences to impact their behavior. If a person sought a hearing and believes the ALJ was unfair, a complaint can be filed with the Social Security Administration.
Understanding the basics of a claim of unfair treatment
Appealing a denied claim because of unfair treatment is not the same as an appeal based on the merits of the case. For example, if the ALJ seemed to treat a person differently due to their age, race, national origin, gender or the disability itself, then this could be the basis to file this type of complaint. To file an appeal for unfair treatment, there are 180 days from the date in which the act took place. Even if the case has yet to be decided on or was approved, the person can file a complaint due to unfair treatment. All the necessary information must be provided in detail.
The process for which a complaint about unfair treatment by the ALJ differs from a conventional appeal. There are only 60 days to file an appeal if the case was denied based on its merits. It is also possible to file an appeal if the applicant was subjected to harassment, retaliation or coercion if there had been a prior complaint about discrimination. This too must be filed within 180 days. The complaint can still be filed after the 180 days, but the person must explain why there was a delay.
Those who were denied SSD benefits have rights
The Social Security Disability claims process is supposed to be fair with decisions made based on the evidence. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which the ALJ or others involved in the process behave inappropriately and it hinders a person’s claim or leads to them being denied outright. For this or any other situation in which a claim was denied, there are options to eventually be approved of benefits. To move forward with an appeal, it is important to have professional advice. Consulting with experienced people can be essential to reach a positive outcome.