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What are the main steps in the SSDI appeals process?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2022 | Social Security Disability

When you are living with a health condition that has left you with a disability, you may be ready to seek out the benefits you’ve earned from the government. Like many, you may have your Social Security Disability Insurance claim denied the first time you apply.

If that happens, you need to know about the steps of the SSDI appeals process. These steps include:

  1. Requesting reconsideration
  2. Requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge
  3. Appealing to the Appeals Council
  4. Making a federal appeal

Many people are able to get the SSDI denial overturned with a reconsideration, but even if you don’t, there are multiple levels of appeals that could help you get the compensation and benefits you deserve. You can start a reconsideration first and go up the chain if it fails.

Requesting reconsideration

Your first step is to request reconsideration. This request can be made online to appeal the decision and ask that the entire claim is reviewed again. You can add new evidence at this stage, too, to help strengthen your position.

Requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge

If that reconsideration is not in your favor, you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. This typically takes place within around 75 miles of your home and may be held over video for some people. The judge may decide to overturn the denial.

Appealing to the Appeals Council

In the case that neither the reconsideration nor hearing helps, you have the option of appealing to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will look for errors made. If it finds any, it can make a decision itself or send the claim back to an administrative law judge for review.

Making a federal appeal

The final option you have is to make a federal appeal. You can file a civil suit in federal court to seek the benefits you deserve.

These are your four options for appealing a SSDI denial. With the right approach, many people are able to get the initial denials overturned, so they can focus on their health and not on their financial situation.


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