To understand the Social Security disability application process, it is important to understand that an initial denial of benefits is not the end of the road. There are several levels of appeal and many initial applications are denied. It is possible for an application that was initially denied to be approved during the appeals process which can be somewhat complex and challenging to understand so guidance can be helpful.
There are important timelines for appeals when the applicant has received a denied claim so it is also helpful to be familiar with what those timelines are and to make sure to abide by them. In general, the applicant has 60 days after a claim has been denied to bring an appeal. It is important to promptly proceed with the appeals process and to not delay because of the important time limitations in place.
The first step in the Social Security disability appeals process is a request for reconsideration. A request for reconsideration is a request for the Social Security Administrative to have a reviewer other than the original reviewer of the application re-evaluate the application. The second step of the appeals process, if the application remains denied, is a hearing before an administrative law judge. The next level of appeal is to the Social Security Administration's Appeals Council. Lastly, an appeal to the federal courts is possible if the application for benefits continues to be denied through all other phases of the appeals process.
A denied claim for Social Security disability benefits can be upsetting and disappointing to disabled applicants for good reason. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the initial denial is not the end of the process of for the disabled individual to be familiar with the appeals options available to them.