When you finally get your Social Security Disability application packet together, it is exciting because you will finally get the benefits you need. Plus, it can seem like a Herculean feat just getting your documents and application together.
This is why it can be so soul-crushing when you get a denial, but take heart, most people are denied initially, and you can appeal your denial.
Generally, once you receive your disability denial, you have 60 days to appeal the decision. Once the determination is made, you receive your determination letter that explains your appeal options.
Types of appeals
There are four levels of disability appeals for Social Security Disability applicants: reconsideration, an administrative law judge hearing, an Appeals Council review and federal court review.
With the exception of the federal court review, these appeals can be filed online, even if you are outside of the United States. Once you file your appeal, you receive an online confirmation.
The first level of appeal is called reconsideration. Once you request reconsideration, you can submit any new evidence that you feel is important.
A new person will review your case file, application and submitted evidence. The new person will not be a part of the prior determination.
Usually, this is a medical appeal, but if your denial was for a non-medical reason, you can request a nonmedical reconsideration.
This could have been a denial based on your living arrangements, income, resources and overpayments.
Sometimes, the denial may have come about because of an oversight or a misunderstanding. If so, make sure the new officer has the clarifying documentation.
Administrative law judge hearing
The next level of review is the ALJ hearing, which is done if you do not agree with the result you got through reconsideration.
In this process, an ALJ reviews your case in a hearing format. It is highly recommended that you are represented by an attorney at the hearing.
If you disagree with the ALJ, you have two options, the Appeals Council Review, and then, federal court review. The Appeals Council does not have to grant a review, and if it does not, then you would need to file an appeal in federal court.