The Different Levels of Social Security Disability Appeals

If you have been unjustly denied Social Security Disability, it may not be the end of the road. There are several steps you can take to appeal a denial, and an experienced attorney can walk you through the process. In considering an appeal, we believe you should understand what the process looks like. Here is a simple breakdown.

  1. Request for Reconsideration. This is the first step for a disability claimant to appeal, and can be done twice. If your claim is denied once, you can resubmit it. When you file a “recon” request, the court will have to re-review your case in its entirety. About 5% of these are granted. If your claim is denied a second time, a request should be filed within the 60-day period following a denial. Please note that several states have eliminated this step completely, including Alabama. Florida, however, still offers this step.
  2. Administrative Law Judge Hearing. If your recon requests have been denied, you must request a hearing within the next 60 days. An administrative law judge (ALJ) who works for SSA is tasked solely with reviewing claims for disability benefits and taking action, whether to uphold or overturn decisions or to deny or terminate disability benefits. Many ALJs grant up to 67% of claims they see, which is why having an attorney on your side can help this process.
  3. Appeals Council. If you are denied again, the case may go to Appeals Council. There is a much lower chance of receiving benefits through this process – around 2-3%. Most people only bring their case to Appeals Council if they plan to sue the SSA in court.
  4. Federal Court Review. If you do not have an attorney representing you by the time your case goes to federal court, it’s time to contact one. A federal judge will listen to your claim and review all previous decisions without a jury. When you bring your case to federal court, you have a much higher chance of winning. However, this process is time consuming and costly. Up to 1% of claimants take their cases to court.

 If the process seems overwhelming, there is always somewhere to turn. At Brock and Stout, we offer comprehensive legal assistance for the application and appeals process. We know you deserve these benefits, and we’re here to help.