Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a difficult process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) rejects the vast majority of SSDI applications the first time they are submitted.
It can be frustrating to not get your initial application approved. However, a rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for SSDI.
What should I do if my application is denied?
The best way to handle a rejection is to appeal the decision. Generally, you have 60 days to submit an appeal. If you miss this deadline or decide not to appeal, you will have to start the application process over again.
There are four levels of appeal:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal court review
These different appeals follow one another in a progression. For example, if the reconsideration process doesn’t get you approved, you will likely appeal for a hearing from a judge and so on. The SSA will usually tell you which level of appeal you should file for in their rejection letter.
A hearing in front of an administrative law judge can often give you the best chance to obtain your benefits. During a hearing, you will be able to present your case in person. If the hearing doesn’t go your way, you have the option to appeal the judge’s decision in higher courts.
The difference a lawyer can make
Using a lawyer can significantly improve the chances of getting your claim approved. If the SSA rejected your initial application, you may want to consider getting a lawyer to help prepare for your appeal. While no one knows your disability better than you do, an experienced lawyer may be able to help you best represent your case to an SSA official or judge.