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Key points about appeals when your benefits have been stopped

When a New Jersey resident is approved for Social Security Disability benefits, it can be a nerve-wracking experience to be informed by the Social Security Administration that the benefits are being stopped. The SSA will periodically review a claimant's case and stop the benefits. A claimant does have alternatives when this is the case. A person who would like to appeal the benefits stopping can do so. The case will be reexamined to determine if the SSA made a mistake and should restart the benefits. There are four levels of appeal including reconsideration, hearing, the appeals council and federal court. This post, however, will focus on other issues.

The claimant will have 60 days to appeal the decision to stop benefits. The countdown starts on the day the claimant receives the letter. The SSA will assume that the claimant received the notification five days after the date on it. The claimant can show that the letter was received later than that and receive an extension. If a person misses the deadline, giving the SSA a reason for the lateness might allow for the appeal to be filed. When a person asks for an appeal within 10 days of getting the letter, it is possible to ask for the payments to continue while the SSA decides on the appeal. If the request is made late, it is possible to continue the payments if there is a good reason for the lateness.

If the payments are ongoing while the appeal is taking place and the decision is upheld, some or all the money will have to be repaid unless the claimant was cooperative during the appeal and the SSA finds that the payments were needed for living expenses. For claimants receiving Supplemental Security Income, the medical assistance that was linked to SSI might also stop. A claimant can file a new application, but that is not the same as filing an appeal. A new application could lead to the loss of benefits or the failure to qualify for benefits; the new application could be denied similarly to the ending of the benefits; and the claimant cannot ask for the payments to continue during the process of a new application.

When SSD benefits stop, having legal assistance with a lawyer who is experienced in denied claims and appealing them is imperative. It can make the difference between a successful appeal and other factors in the case. That is the first call that should be made.

Source: ssa.gov, "Your Right to Question the Decision to Stop Your Disability Benefits," accessed on April 24, 2017

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