It can be heartbreaking to have your application for disability benefits denied, especially if you were not expecting it. However, most initial applications are not usually successful, according to data from the Social Security Administration.
The reasons vary, from mistakes in the filing process to not meeting the qualifying conditions for a disability. Therefore, it is crucial to know what to expect and the steps to take if your claim is denied. Here is what you need to know.
There are 4 levels of appeal
If your initial application is denied, you can request a reconsideration which is the first level of appeal. Your claim will be reviewed afresh, and any additional medical documentation will be considered. If it still leads to a denial, you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
If your claim is denied at this stage, you may then take your case to the Social Security Appeals Council, who may choose to deny your claim or return it to the administrative law judge for a review. You have the option of appealing the denial by the Appeals Council through the federal courts, which is usually the last resort.
Take note of key deadlines
You have 60 days after your application is denied to make any appeal. If you wait longer than that without valid reasons, you could lose your right to appeal the denial or any review of your case. It is in your best interests to start acting as soon as you receive notice of denial.
Documentation is essential
Navigating the appeals process can be a time-consuming and draining process for anyone, which is why you need to proceed with the necessary knowledge. For a desirable outcome, it is advisable to be well prepared with any information that may be required along the way – medical or otherwise.