Unfortunately, many claims for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied. This can be particularly troublesome for disabled individuals who rely on these benefits for their daily needs and to help support themselves and their families. As a result, denied applicants for Social Security disability benefits should be familiar with the appeals options available to them.

There are several levels of appeal for denied Social Security disability benefits. The first, where available, is a request for reconsideration. During the reconsideration process, a new reviewer will evaluate the application for disability benefits with a fresh set of eyes. If the application remains denied following the reconsideration process, the next step in the appeals process is a hearing before an administrative law judge. It is important for the disabled individual to be prepared for their hearing.

If the administrative law judge also denies the application for social Security disability benefits, the next level of appeal is a review by the Social Security Administration Appeals Council. The final level of appeal in the Social Security disability appeals process is an appeal to the federal courts. Because the appeals process can be time consuming, it is beneficial at the outset for the disabled applicant to be able to present a strong initial application for benefits and to provide thorough and complete medical records.

Understanding the SSD application process, from the initial application through the appeals process, can be vital to securing the benefits many disabled applicants badly need. As a result, familiarity with the process may provide a leg up for those seeking benefits.