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How does one appeal after being denied Social Security?

When a person in New Jersey is suffering from issues that they believe make them eligible for Social Security disability benefits, it can be a significant letdown if they apply and receive a denial or of they were getting disability and the decision was made to conclude it. Being denied Social Security might lead one to believe that the process is over and there's no chance of receiving SSD benefits. That would be a mistake. There is an appeals process and there is a chance that the original decision might be overturned.

In the event that the application for benefits was denied, the claimant will have 60 days to make the request. There are four different levels of appeal including: reconsideration, hearing by an administrative law judge, a review by an appeals council and a federal court review. Reconsideration is when the entire claim will be reviewed by a person who was not at all involved in the original decision. In some instances, a person had been receiving disability but the medical condition is deemed to have improved enough so benefits are no longer needed. The claimant can meet with the representative to state the case that the disability is still in effect.

After the reconsideration is denied, there can be a hearing. An administrative law judge will convene the hearing and will have had no part in the previous decisions. The hearing is generally close to the claimant's home -- within 75 miles. More evidence can be provided to prove that the benefits should still be awarded. Witnesses of a personal nature as well as medical experts can testify to prove the case. It is also possible that a video hearing can be held.

Next is the appeals council. This council will listen to a request to conduct a review, but doesn't have to move forward with it. It can make the decision or send it back to the administrative law judge to review it further. The federal court system is the final step in an appeal.

The federal regulations for the appeals process can be complicated and difficult to navigate. A key to completing the process correctly can be having experienced legal advice and that is a call that should be made before moving forward with an appeal.

Source: ssa.gov, "The Appeals Process," accessed on Apr. 2, 2015

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