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How do you appeal a denied SSDI benefits claim?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are a type of protection available for those with a significant work history and a medical condition that prevents their ongoing employment. People with conditions ranging from spinal cord injuries or mental health issues to aggressive cancers and autoimmune diseases can qualify for SSDI benefits while they are unable to work and still too young to retire. 

Unfortunately, a significant number of applicants will receive a rejection letter instead of notice that the Social Security Administration (SSA) approved their claim. These applicants will need to appeal that denial to get the benefits they need. 

How do SSDI applicants appeal to get benefits? Here’s what you should know:

They ask for a reconsideration

Sometimes, it is not an issue with your application but rather the perception of the SSA employee handling your claim that results in a rejection. Asking for reconsideration is the first stage of appeal. It involves having a different team of workers evaluate your application. In many cases, reconsideration can lead to someone getting benefits. 

They requesting a hearing

If your reconsideration doesn’t come back with the results you need, you can file a request for a hearing.

During an appeal hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), you will have the opportunity to present more medical evidence and convince the court that you need SSDI benefits. It can be a lengthy weight to get a hearing, but it’s often productive for claimants because it gives you a chance to plead your case in person.

There are two additional levels of appeal available to those who do not have success at your hearing. You can ask for a review by the Appeals Council. After that, you can ask for a federal court review, although these are less common. Knowing your appeal options when seeking SSDI benefits will help you prepare for the appeal process necessary in some claims.