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What can one do when a request for disability benefits is denied?

Nobody is perfect, as much as Georgia residents might want to believe otherwise from time to time. When other persons or entities make errors that fundamentally affect Georgia residents, those individuals may have some recourse available to correct the errors, at least in the context of errors involving Social Security disability benefits.

As discussed previously in this blog, there are a number of requirements that apply when a person applies for Social Security benefits. Despite a person doing his or her best to satisfy these requirements, it can seem like the end of the road when the person is denied Social Security disability benefits.

Fortunately, individuals who are denied benefits can file an appeal from the decision. There are strict time limits that apply to file such an appeal, and therefore, it is essential that individuals who wish to appeal the denial of benefits do not sit on their hands.

There are actually multiple levels of review that apply. For example, the denial decision can be reconsidered by the agency. The reconsideration typically is done by someone other than the original decision maker.

A second level of review involves holding a new hearing. During the hearing, new evidence can be provided that was not addressed in the initial decision.

The person can proceed up the ladder by appealing to the Appeals Council, which may or may not review the person's case. Finally, if the steps of review within the agency do not solve the issue, the individual can file a legal action in federal district court. The district court will then review the agency's decision to deny benefits, and it has the power to order the agency to provide the benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "The appeals process," accessed on June 19, 2015

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