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Social Security

Explained: The Four Levels Of SSDI Appeals Process

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) exists to support individuals who are no longer able to work due to a disability. However, the application process can be lengthy and complex. After applying for SSDI benefits, it is possible to receive a denial of benefits. If this happens, it's important to know that there are four levels of appeal available to help you receive the benefits you deserve.

Four Levels of A Social Security Disability Appeals Process

Level 1: Reconsideration

The first level of the SSDI appeals process is known as the reconsideration stage. During this stage, your case will be reviewed again after a different evaluator reviews the initial application. You must file the reconsideration within 60 days of the initial denial and additional medical evidence is essential. This may include obtaining new medical evidence and providing a more detailed statement describing your disability.

Level 2: Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing

If your case has not been approved during the reconsideration stage, the next level of appeal is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. You have the option to present new evidence, additional witness statements, and new medical documentation. The judge will also consider evidence previously submitted and will often ask questions about your health and work history.

Level 3: Appeals Council Review

If your case is not approved after the hearing, the next step is an appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council would review any errors made by the ALJ related to the law, procedure, and facts. It then has the discretion to reject, affirm, or remand the ALJ's decision. If the appeals council upholds the ALJ's decision, you can advance to the next level of appeal.

Level 4: Federal Court Review

If the Appeals Council has also denied you, you can file your case in the state's federal district court. You would need an experienced disability lawyer or an advocate who will represent you at this level. A federal court review usually leads to a settlement agreement to avoid the risk of a judge's decision. However, if your case cannot be settled, then it will proceed to the courtroom, where the judge will make a decision after the hearing.

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys

While the SSDI appeal process can be daunting, each level is crucial in achieving the benefits you deserve. SSDI claimants should know that their cases will be evaluated fairly at each level of appeal. Having an attorney or advocate for your SSDI claim is important, as they can guide you through the process and provide crucial support throughout every level. Knowing the stages of the SSDI appeals process can save you time and help you succeed in your SSDI claim.

At Rubin & Badame, Attorneys at Law, P.C., we specialize in assisting clients through each level of the appeals process. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping individuals the SSDI benefits they deserve. Contact us today at (610) 595-4917 for a free consultation, and let us guide you through your SSDI appeals journey.