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Social Security Timeline: What Happens After Denial

The following post is part of our Law Student Blog Writing Project, and is authored by Linda Long, a Juris Doctor student at the NKU Salmon P. Chase College of Law.

Social Security Timeline: What Happens After Denial

So, you’re looking into getting Social Security Disability benefits, but you were denied. The frustration can be very disheartening and confusing. This blog post is intended to show a person seeking Social Security and the attorneys that help what to do after benefit denial.

The Appeal Process

After a person is denied SSDI benefits he or she has the option to appeal the decision. There are four levels of appeal. Those levels include: (1) Request for Reconsideration; (2) Administrative Law Judge Hearing; (3) Appeals Council; and (4) Federal Court Review.

Request for Reconsideration

This level has two avenues. A person either requests reconsideration of the original claim or reconsideration of an ongoing claim. If the claim is original, you must start with contacting the local field office and to start the appeal process. All new medical experts are needed to complete the reconsideration process. Because this is an all new determination, none of the original medical doctors, psychologists etc. are allowed to review a patient again. The reconsideration is completed at the Disability Determination Services Level (DDSL). Typically, only 5-10% of reconsideration claims are granted. If an applicant is denied again, then the appeal process begins again with the added step of review by an administrative law judge.

An ongoing claim can be denied if a reviewer finds, after a periodic check, that the beneficiary is able to work and does not need SSDI benefits any longer or if the beneficiary is not complying with procedures.

Administrative Law Judge Hearing

The next step to take after the Request for Reconsideration is review in front of an administrative law judge. This is the next step to take after denial of reconsideration of either an original claim or an ongoing claim. To continue with an appeal, a request for a hearing with an administrative law court needs to be filed within 60 days. Administrative law judges go through a process called Sequential Evaluation to determine whether an applicant can actually work. This process occurs at a hearing that can often take as long as 18 months to schedule. It is highly recommended that you have an attorney help you at a hearing – for more information, follow the links to more information from our website.

Appeals Council

To appeal a denial of an administrative law judge, a person can request their case be heard by the Appeals Council. Success at this level is unlikely because the council does not take every case submitted, but randomly selects them. The Appeals Council’s job is to determine if the administrative law judge made any mistakes, rather than to re-litigate the facts. There is, according to some sources, a 3% chance of victory at this level.

Federal Court Review

This is the last step. This suit is filed in a U.S. district court, and it is heard as a bench trial. There will be no jury. Less than 1% of applicants have their case make it to this level. Federal court review in social security disability is exceedingly rare, and victory is exceedingly difficult. You should not attempt this process without an attorney by your side.

If you have been denied social security disability, don’t hesitate to call Lawrence & Associates and ask for a free consultation today! We’re Working Hard for the Working Class, and we’d like to help you.