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Appealing after a denied claim for Social Security disability

When a person in Florida is suffering from a mental or physical issue that is resulting in an inability to work and lost wages, an option that should be explored is applying for Social Security disability benefits. A common concern among those who are considering filing for benefits is what they should if the claim is denied. While many might believe that there is no chance to have a reversal on a denied claim, there are steps to take to appeal the denial and possibly be awarded benefits.

When there is a claim for benefits and it is denied, there is the option to appeal. This is a request that the Social Security Administration (SSA) look at the case again and possibly reconsider. While the perception for most appeals is that it is a formality that it will be declined, that is not the case in a Social Security disability hearing. There's a good chance to have the decision overturned. The appeal must be requested within 60 days from the date the letter of denial is received. If there are questions or a possible discrepancy as to the dates, checking the SSA website can help.

There are four levels of appeal. First is reconsideration, second is the hearing by an administrative law judge, third is the review by the Appeals Council, and fourth is a review by the Federal Court. Reconsidering is a full review of the claim by someone who had no influence in the initial hearing. The evidence will be reviewed and additional evidence can be shown. If the reconsideration also results in a denial, there can be a hearing. This will be overseen by an administrative law judge who didn't have anything to do with either the initial decision or the reconsideration.

The Appeals Council is the next step. The Appeals Council will consider hearing all cases, but they can refuse to follow through if they see the decision as having been the correct one. After that, there is the option of appealing to Federal Court. Understanding how to file an appeal according to the federal requirements is a key to possibly having the decision reversed. Help from an experienced legal professional is also paramount to lodging an appeal for a denied claim at every stage.

Source: SSA.gov, The Appeals Process," accessed on Dec. 9, 2014

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