Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Knowing how to approach an appeal for disability benefits

Social Security disability benefits can be of vital importance to many disabled individuals and their families. It can be challenging wading through the application process and paperwork only to be denied benefits. It is important to keep in mind that understanding how to apply, what to include and being familiar with the Social Security disability (SSD) appeals process can be extremely useful for disabled individuals and their families.

Knowing how to appeal a denial of SSD benefits is crucial. The ability of disabled individuals to care for themselves and their families can depend on disability benefits. When they have been denied SSD benefits based on medical reasons, it is important for them to understand the appeals process and how it can help them. In general, though it may vary by state, there are 4 levels of appeals including a request for reconsideration, a hearing, the Appeals Council and federal court appeals.

An appeal should include information such as any medical information since the initial application including medical treatments and tests and doctors and hospitals that have provided medical treatment and care. An update of medications being taken should also be included. Additionally, changes to medical conditions and daily activities should be included as well. During the request for reconsideration, the information is reviewed by a new examiner and medical consultant not involved in the original application review. The hearing is conducted before an administrative law judge.

There are several levels of appeal designed to protect and help disabled individuals engaged in the process of applying for benefits. Because there are also important deadlines associated with the appeals process, disabled individuals should understand what information to include when initially applying for benefits and when appealing a denial of benefits.

Source: New Haven Register, "How to appeal online if you're denied Social Security benefits," Oct. 18, 2016

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