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What to do if your SSD application is denied

Living with a disabling injury or medical condition can severely and negatively impact an individual's life in a number of ways. In many cases, individuals who suffer a physical or mental disability or who are stricken with a disabling medical condition are no longer able to work. Thankfully, the Social Security Administration established a disability benefits program aimed to help these individuals.

Individuals who plan to apply for Social Security disability benefits should ensure their applications are complete and provide sufficient details and medical documentation related to their disability and inability to work. In many cases, initial claims for SSD benefits are denied. If an individual's initial claim is denied, he or she can take action to appeal the decision.

There are four stages involved when appealing an SSD claim; the first option is called reconsideration. Upon seeking the reconsideration of a claim, an individual submits a basic request electronically or via written request to reconsider the original claim. If reconsideration is not successful an individual may opt for appealing a claim’s denial via a hearing. Similar to reconsideration, during a hearing the appeals decision is made by an administration judge.

If an administration judge fails to grant an appeal, an individual may then request their claim be reviewed by an appeals counsel review. This process involves the Social Security Administration's office of adjudication. In cases where the previously mentioned three appeal steps fail, an individual may choose to file a lawsuit with the appropriate U.S. Federal Court.

At any point during the appeals process, an individual may choose to consult with an attorney who handles SSD appeals. An attorney can often assist in ensuring an original claim is amended to improve an individual's chances of securing disability benefits.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Social Security Disability Benefits: 4 Ways You Can Appeal a Denial," Dan Caplinger, July 20, 2014

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