If you are denied Social Security Disability benefits (SSD), you will probably want to appeal the decision. Before applying at all, it’s helpful to understand what is involved in an SSD appeal hearing. Whether you’re located in Orlando, Boca Raton or elsewhere in Florida, the process is going to be the same. Learn more about it below.
Levels of appeal
You essentially have four opportunities to appeal an SSD decision. The entire process is overseen by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), which is located in Falls Church, Virginia. However, there is a nationwide network of administrative lawyer judges, or ADJs, who handle SSD appeals. There are four levels of appeal:
- Reconsideration. During this first step, you don’t have to be present. Your case is reviewed by an impartial party who was not involved in the previous decision.
- Hearing. If your case is denied again, you can move on to a hearing. This is your opportunity to bring witnesses who can bolster your case. Medical experts and vocational experts can be very useful in this situation, but it’s especially important to have a qualified SSD attorney by your side.
- Appeals council. If you are denied once again, you can move your case to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council may decline to review your case at all. If it decides to review it, it may do so on its own or send it back to another administrative law judge (ALJ).
- Federal court. The Appeals Council renders the final decision. If you are denied again, you can file a lawsuit in federal court.
Appealing an SSD decision can seem like a daunting task. With the right legal representation, however, you will have a better chance of achieving the right resolution earlier in the process.