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What are the two main stages of SSDI appeals?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2023 | social security disability |

Those who have worked hard throughout their adult lives don’t expect to end up unable to support themselves. They intend to continue developing their careers until they are ready to retire. Many individuals have a very precise plan for saving for retirement. However, thousands of hard-working people every year develop disabling medical conditions.

Despite their desire to continue working until the age of retirement or even beyond, their physical symptoms prevent them from maintaining their employment. They still have many household expenses to cover but no way to generate income. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program largely exists for the benefit of people in this exact situation.

People who have worked and made contributions to Social Security can apply for SSDI to help pay their bills when they are unable to work and too young to seek retirement benefits. A significant portion of people who apply for SSDI get denied at first and must appeal. What are the two main stages of appeal that they will have to undergo?

A reconsideration

The first stage of the SSDI appeals process is the reconsideration stage. This is an internal process that involves a different Social Security Administration (SSA) employee reviewing the rejected application. The applicant or their attorney can make corrections to errors in the initial paperwork and submit additional medical records to improve the chances of success during the reconsideration stage.

Reconsideration is helpful for those with unusually severe versions of common medical conditions and those who made mistakes on their initial paperwork. It also helps those affected by the internal biases of an SSA employee.

An appeal hearing

If reconsideration is not successful, then you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). These legal professionals will hear your case and make a determination that aligns with SSA policy and legal precedent. You will have an opportunity to present expert testimony and in-depth medical evidence to help convince the ALJ that your condition prevents you from working and necessitates SSDI benefits.

Typically, applicants only pursue these two initial stages of appeal. There are other options available for those without success at the court hearing level. Understanding what to expect when appealing an SSDI denial can help you prepare for the process ahead. Contact an attorney for advice and assistance with this process.