The Levels of Appeal After Rejection of Social Security Disability Application
Retirement from work is an unavoidable course in every employee’s life, provided it is not suddenly and unexpectedly ended by a disabling injury or illness. Disability or illness, whether work-related, is often the cause of financial burden to so many workers, especially mid-income earners. Besides loss of income due to inability to report for work, many also eventually lose their savings due to the high cost of medical treatment.
Unlike during the early part of the 1900s, however, when workers were often left struggling financially whenever they got injured or ill, cash benefits started to be paid to injured or ill workers, whether their injury or illness was due to work. After U.S. states, one after another, passed into law the Workers’ Compensation Act during the first quarter of the 1900s, the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935.
The Social Security Act, which first served as a form of social insurance, was originally intended as a solution to the problem of poverty suffered by senior citizens during the 1930 Great Depression. Continuous changes and improvements in the Act, however, have caused its positive effects to flow through time; today, it addresses not only old age needs (through pension) but also provides cash assistance to both workers and non-workers suffering from serious illnesses or permanent total disabilities.
Due to fraudulent disability claims in the past, application and evaluation of applications have been made much stricter, often resulting to rejections even at their initial phases of filing. Rejected applications, however, means that an applicant can make an appeal within 60 days after receipt of the decision.
Social Security disability benefits appeal usually undergoes four levels:
- Reconsideration, which is a comprehensive review of the claim, is to be made by people or evaluators who did not take part in the first decision;
- Hearing by an Administrative law judge, which is conducted if the applicant still disagrees with the decision reached after |the Reconsideration level. An applicant can present new proofs or introduce witnesses who will help confirm his/her rights for the claim.
- Review by the Appeals Council. This council may be requested to review the decision arrived at during the hearing if applicant is still not satisfied. The appeals council has the right, however, to reject an applicant’s request if it finds the administrative law judge’s decision to be sound and correct. If it decides to consider the request, however, then it may either issue its own decision or return applicant’s case to the administrative law judge who will conduct a further review on the claim.
- Federal court review. A fourth option is available if applicant still does not agree with the decision of the Appeals Council, especially if the council’s decision is rejection of appeal made. This fourth level is request for a federal court review. The Social Security office will inform the applicant whatever decision it arrives at, as well as give him/her instructions on how to raise his/her concern to the federal court.
As explained by Social Security disability claim appeal lawyers from the Hankey Law Office, a rejected disability claim is a devastating blow that can plunge your financial future into uncertainty. Fortunately, it is possible to appeal an unfavorable decision concerning your disability claim, whether this claim was wholly denied or only partially approved. Assistance from a highly-competent lawyer, who will guide through the whole process of your appeal can be an advantageous move.