The SSDI appeals process

Social Security Disability Insurance provides financial assistance to millions of Americans every year. These benefits are designed to help people who suffer from a disability that makes it difficult for them to work and make ends meet. Not everyone who applies for SSDI benefits, however, is approved. The lengthy application process can take several months or even a year to yield a decision on whether the applicant has been approved for benefits. If an application is denied, people have the ability to appeal the decision. In some cases, the applicant may have inadvertently missed some important documentation or has additional information that may add to the case.

Once applicants receive the decision, they have 60 days to submit a written appeal. The appeals process goes through four levels. First, the decision will be reconsidered by an SSA representative who has had no participation in the case. A second decision will be made. If applicants still disagree on decision, they may ask to have a hearing scheduled. More evidence and documentation may be needed to clarify the case. An administrative judge will question the applicant, as well as medical professionals he or she brings as witnesses to the case. If the applicant still disagrees with the judge’s decision, he or she may go before the appeals council. This council will perform a subjective review of the case and turn it over to another judge for reconsideration.

Those who are still not approved for benefits may choose to take the case to federal court. The appeals process can take years to complete. However, it may assist disabled people receive the benefits they deserve.

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