How to Appeal a Social Security Disability Denial

If you are over 50 and were recently denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), DON’T GIVE UP! Receiving a notice that your claim for SSDI or SSI benefits has been denied can be disheartening, but you still have plenty of options to get help. Our Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyers explain how to appeal an SSDI or SSI denial.

The SSDI & SSI Appeals Process

Did you know that most SSDI and SSI applications are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA)? In fact, two-thirds of all initial disability applications made in the United States are rejected. Reconsiderations are denied at an even higher rate—up to 87%.

This means that appeals are a regular part of the application process. Typically, there are four levels of the SSDI appeals process, which are:

  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing before an administrative law judge
  • Review by the SSA Appeals Council
  • A final Federal Court review

Now for the good news: The rate of SSDI application denials is much lower following a hearing—only 35% of all claims are denied at this stage. Why? There are a number of potential reasons, but perhaps the most influential is having the chance to enlist a qualified medical professional and/or a lawyer to argue your case in front of a judge.

If you have a serious physical medical condition that has been tested and confirmed and your doctor (especially a specialist) is willing to support that you are expected not to be able to return to employment for at least a 12 month period, there is absolutely no reason not to appeal your case. Based on disability laws, your chances of successfully making it through the appeals process are better when you are over 50 than when you are under 50.

If you have recently received a denial notice on your SSDI benefits application, here is what you can do to appeal your claim:

  • Within 60 days of receiving your denial notice, submit a request for an appeal in writing to the SSA
  • Wait to receive a decision from the reconsideration process, which will be mailed to your home
  • If your appeal is denied again, you can request a hearing by following the instructions given in the notice provided with the reconsideration verdict
    • You will also have the chance to submit new evidence that can help your claim
  • Attend the hearing on your own or with a qualified Social Security disability attorney
  • Wait to receive a decision based on the hearing, which will be mailed to your home
  • If you disagree with the hearing’s decision, you may ask for a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council
  • Wait to receive a decision from the Appeals Council, which will be mailed to your home
  • If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision—or if the Appeals Council decided not to review your case—you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court

You can read more about the SSA’s disability benefits appeals process here. While you can accomplish this process on your own, it can be streamlined with the help of an attorney.

How an SSDI Benefits Attorney Can help

Disability claimants should never give up on an SSDI or SSI claim. The sooner you appeal, the sooner SSA will schedule a hearing, giving you a better chance at winning your claim and promptly getting the benefits you deserve. However, we do recommend consulting with an experienced Social Security disability attorney before submitting your appeal.

Even if you ultimately choose not to attend a hearing or end up not needing to take legal action against the SSA, a Social Security disability attorney can provide you with insight into how to best file an appeal to increase your chances for success. Even better, most lawyers offer free consultations—including us!

An attorney can inform you of your rights and answer your questions about the appeals process during the initial consultation. If you choose to seek further assistance, a lawyer can also submit your appeal and any related documents on your behalf as well as represent you during a hearing. In fact, your chances for approval are generally higher at the hearing level, especially with legal representation. Our firm has also been successful in getting appeals approved even sooner at times as well.

Remember, DON’T LOSE HOPE IF YOUR INITIAL CLAIM WAS DENIED. Most claims are refused the first time around simply due to a lack of medical evidence or because of a small mistake. There’s a very good chance your appeal will be successful, especially if you have legal counsel on your side.

If you were recently denied SSDI benefits, you only have 60 days to appeal. We can help! Contact a Philadelphia Social Security disability attorney at the Shipon Law Associates, P.C. online or at (215) 708-1234 to set up your FREE, no-obligation case evaluation.