December 10, 2018

How do I appeal the denial?

You need to be aware of the fact that there are as many as 4 opportunities to appeal your denial during the disability claims process. The first opportunity occurs immediately following your first denial letter that you receive after initially applying for your benefits. If you are denied after your first appeal, you can request a hearing that is conducted by an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge). The next appeal involves confronting the Appeals Council in order to contest the prior denial.

It is rare that there will be further appeals. However, if your last appeal was denied, then your last alternative is to take your case to the applicable Federal District Court. Be prepared for tons of paperwork and time spent in consultation with your disability attorney at each appeal. The SSA and all of their judicial components look for specific information and terminology at every step of the appeals process. There are a number of things that you want to be aware of.

Most importantly, you have 60 days to file that first appeal which is most commonly referred to as a Request for Reconsideration. It is also imperative that you know the date on that denial letter because your 60-day time period starts as of the date of the denial letter. As a precaution, you should file the Request for Reconsideration form within the first 15 days of receiving your denial letter.

In addition to the above, there are other steps involved where understanding how the appeals process works. These include the following 6 steps:

Step #1 – You need to decide if going the appeals route is feasible by showing that your emotional, mental, and/or physical condition has rendered you incapable of performing your current job and that it has prohibited you from even taking on a different job as well. Additionally, it must be proven that the condition is going to continue for the next 12 months consecutively and may eventually result in you passing away from it.

Step #2 – Sit down with your disability attorney and determine the exact reason behind your denial

Step #3 – If you want to contact the SSA, apply online. If you do not have access to a computer, then you still have the second best option of calling them on the phone and dealing with the automated grief. Try to avoid the third option of going to your local or regional office in person.

Step#4 – Look for any discrepancies or omitted information in your denial letter

Step #5 – If your Reconsideration Hearing is denied, request another hearing

Step #6 – If you are still denied after the Reconsideration Hearing, you still have 2 options. You can take your case to an Appeals Council and should that fail, your last resort is going to be the Federal District Court of Appeals