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How can a decision denying disability benefits be appealed?

When injustices happen to Georgia residents, it is important that individuals take action to make things right. While it can be frustrating to have to correct a wrong that should not have happened in the first place, the most important thing is to make sure the right result is reached in the end.

In the legal system, procedures exist to correct wrong decisions that may have been made. For instance, when a person's application for Social Security disability benefits is denied, the person has means available to challenge that decision and have it reviewed by someone else.

However, there are strict procedures that must be followed to pursue the appeal of denied social security disability benefits. For instance, the person must typically file the appeal within 60 days after receiving the letter informing the person of the decision. If the person does not file the appeal within this time frame, he or she may lose the right to appeal the adverse decision.

There are different steps in pursuing an appeal. One way in which an adverse decision is reviewed is through reconsideration of the initial decision. This reconsideration, which examines the evidence used to make the first decision and any new evidence, is done by someone other than the person who made the first decision.

If the applicant disagrees with the reconsideration decision, a hearing may be requested. Once again, this hearing will be conducted by someone who had no role in the initial decision or reconsideration. At the hearing, an administrative law judge will consider the evidence, including the testimony of the applicant and any medical or vocational experts.

Finally, if the person disagrees with the decision of the administrative law judge, that decision can be reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Council. After that, the decision can be appealed into federal court for judicial review of the matter.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Your right to question the decision made on your claim," accessed on April 9, 2016

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