What are the levels of social security disability appeals?

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2014 | Social Security Disability

Millions of Americans rely on Social Security Disability payments in order to meet their basic needs. These people are suffering from medical conditions that keep them from working. This income is vital for many of these individuals. Therefore, when the Social Security Administration denies an application for SSDI or revokes a person’s SSDI, the consequences can be serious.

However, there is a system of appeals in place that allows a person to keep trying to obtain SSDI. The appeals process has four stages, each with its own rules and procedures. People must understand these stages of appeals in order to have the best chance at obtaining SSDI after their application is denied.

The first stage of appeals is reconsideration. In this stage, people ask the SSA to reconsider the application. During this stage, people can submit new evidence to support their disability and their need for SSDI.

The second stage of SSD appeals is an administrative law judge hearing. During this stage an ALJ will question the person about their application, as well as any witnesses the person brings to support the person’s application. These witnesses can include medical experts. Additional evidence may also be requested and reviewed by the ALJ. An ALJ hearing must be requested no later than 60 days after a reconsideration is denied.

The third stage of the appeals process is an appeals council review. In this stage, the appeals council can choose to hear a person’s case or not. It can also choose to handle the issues or send the case back to the ALJ. To be eligible for an appeals council review, the appeal must be filed within 65 days from when the ALJ sends the petitioner their decision.

The final stage of appeals is a civil case in Federal Court. The court will only overturn a previous SSA decision if the decision was inherently unreasonable or the decisions was not based on fact. This is a more difficult standard to meet.

Source: Findlaw, “Basics of Social Security Disability Appeals,” accessed Aug. 17, 2014

Source: Findlaw, “Basics of Social Security Disability Appeals,” accessed Aug. 17, 2014


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