Ohioans who are suffering from an illness, condition or injury that they believe warrants an approval for disability benefits from Social Security will frequently be left confused if they are denied Social Security. Fortunately, there is an appeals process that they can use to have the case reexamined to determine if they meet the requirements and a mistake was made with the denial.
When the claimant seeks to appeal, the Social Security Administration will examine the whole decision and change it if necessary. The appeal must be in written form and the SSA must receive it within 60 days of the date that the applicant received the letter denying or ending benefits. There are four different levels of appeal. They are: reconsideration; a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ); a review by the Appeals Council; and a review by federal court.
With reconsideration, the entire case will be reviewed by someone who had no role in the initial decision. The evidence will be looked at and new evidence can be submitted. If the appeal is due to a person being declared no longer eligible for benefits because of an improvement of the condition, the applicant can meet with a representative of the SSA to explain why there is still a disability. After reconsideration, the applicant can request a hearing. An ALJ will oversee the hearing and will not have taken part in any other portion of the case. More evidence can be provided and witnesses can be called to testify. In general, it is believed to benefit the applicant to appear at the hearing. The ALJ will decide based on the information.
Next is the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is not obligated to review all cases. They review the request to do so. If they do not see a mistake in any of the previous decisions, they will not agree to hear the case. If they decide to hear the case, they will examine it and decide whether it should be returned to the ALJ to be reviewed again. If the Appeals Council denies the request to hear the case, the applicant can go to federal court for a final review.
An applicant can appeal whether he or she was already receiving SSD benefits and the benefits stopped or if the claim was denied before receiving benefits. Regardless of the circumstances, an appeal at any level often hinges on factors that an attorney can help with. Discussing the case with a legal professional experienced in Social Security disability appeals is a wise option.
Source: ssa.gov, “The Appeals Process,” accessed on Feb. 23, 2017