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How do I kick off the SSD benefits appeals process?

Losing an initial claim for Social Security disability can be disheartening and threaten to burden people with continued financial hardship. As discouraging as a denial can be, though, people can't let it get the best of them. After all, the process does allow people to file an appeal, which they should carefully consider if SSD benefits are going to prove to be a financial lifeline for them and their family.

Logistically speaking, people have 60 days to request an appeal from the date that they receive your initial claim denial letter. It is vitally important that people request an appeal within this timeframe, as failure to do so could cut them off to challenging the denial. If, however, people can show that extenuating circumstances caused the delay in requesting an appeal, then they may get more time. But it's best to request the appeal within the 60 day timeframe to play it safe.

A request for appeal must be in writing, and people should submit any documentation they have that may strengthen their appeal. This can be done online, which can make the process easier and faster. Once this is completed, then the claim will undergo reconsideration, where the entire claim and supporting documentation is given another look.

People will be notified of the SSA's decision after reconsideration. If it is still a denial, don't fret. People still have appellate options available to them. However, at this point people will have to go to hearings and verbally argue their claim. Here, it might be helpful to have the assistance of a qualified an attorney who can give people the representation they deserve. To learn more about the appellate process from this point onward, it might be helpful to speak with an attorney.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Your Right To Question The Decision Made On Your Claim," accessed on July 18, 2016

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