If your application for disability benefits has been denied, you may be wondering what you should do next. Your next steps will depend on what kind of disability benefits they are and what step of the process you are at. The good news is that usually there are several levels of the process and if you are denied at one level, you can appeal to the next level to hopefully get a favorable decision there.
There are different kinds of programs that may be considered “disability,” including worker’s compensation, Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The programs differ in many ways and depending on which program you are applying for, the steps you may take will differ.
For example, with SSI and SSDI, you first apply directly to the Social Security Administration. If they deny your claim (which they will likely do), you may be able to ask for reconsideration. If your claim is denied at that point you can then ask for a hearing with an administrative law judge. The hearings can be held in person or over videoconference. (However, if those options don’t work for you your representative may be able to help you figure something else out.) If you are denied by the Administrative Law Judge, then you can ask the appeals council to look at your case. If the Appeals Council still denies your case, you may even be able to appeal to the Federal Court in your area!
In other words, don’t give up!
One thing that all of the programs have in common is that they have a lot of complicated rules and regulations, and if you want to be approved it is important that you have the necessary evidence, and present your case in the way most likely to be approved. There are also specific timelines for applications or for appeals, so you should contact an attorney or someone who specializes in this kind of law as soon as possible if you have been denied.
All cases are different and sometimes instead of appealing at a certain level it may be better to reapply. In the end, the circumstances of your case, the benefits you are applying for, and other factors will influence the best course of action.