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When you sustain an injury, become ill, or receive a diagnosis of a medical condition, the extent to which it will impact your life varies widely. If it appears that your situation may be long-lasting or even permanent, you may want to apply for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. There is a complex and lengthy application process to qualify for SSDI benefits, and in some cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may deny your eligibility for benefits. If this occurs, then you may need to appeal the denial of benefits and go to a Greenville SSDI hearing. Schedule an appointment with a dedicated SSDI lawyer and they could help you pursue the benefits you may need.

Appealing the Denial of SSDI Benefits

There are four different levels of appeal from the denial of SSDI benefits. Individuals who receive a denial from SSA generally have 60 days from the date of receiving the denial letter to ask for an appeal. SSA assumes that people receive correspondence from them no more than five days following the date of the correspondence. Failing to appeal within this timeframe may result in SSA’s decision becoming final and an inability to appeal the decision any further.

Reconsideration of Claims

After receiving an initial denial of SSDI benefits, individuals can request a reconsideration of their claims. During the reconsideration process, a person from Disability Determination Services who did not initially review the claim or take part in the denial of benefits will review the claim again.

That representative typically will look at all of the evidence used in the original claim, along with any new evidence to support eligibility for SSDI benefits. After the reconsideration is complete, the claimant will receive another letter from SSA with its decision regarding eligibility for SSDI benefits.

Administrative Law Judge Hearing

If the person still disagrees with the results of the reconsideration of their claim, they can further appeal the matter by requesting an administrative hearing. This hearing takes place in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ), who is employed by SSA to review decisions that individuals appeal. The ALJ assigned to the case has no prior knowledge and did not take part in the initial claim determination or in the reconsideration of the claim.

A Greenville SSDI hearing is normally held within 75 miles of the applicant’s home and is sometimes conducted via video conferencing. Before the hearing, the person can submit new or additional evidence or information in support of their claim for SSDI benefits. Individuals also have the right to be represented by a seasoned attorney or another representative of their choice at the hearing.

At the hearing, the ALJ will receive information from the applicant and any witnesses brought to the hearing by the applicant. The ALJ also may hear testimony or review reports from medical experts or vocational experts that assess the person’s ability to work.

The applicant has the right to ask questions of all witnesses and the judge also will ask questions of the applicant and any witnesses. After the hearing, the ALJ will make a decision on the claim and send it along with a letter to the claimant.

Appeals Council

If the ALJ issues a denial of benefits in a SSDI claim, the person has the right to further appeal the matter and ask for a review by the Appeals Council, which can do a few different things with a claim. The Appeals Council can:

  • Deny the claim and find that the ALJ’s decision was correct
  • Reverse the denial of the claim and award benefits to the individuals
  • Reverse the denial of the claim and send the claim back to the ALJ for further action, which can mean that the ALJ may rehear the claim

The Appeals Council also will notify claimants of its decision by mail. A denial of benefits or review by the Appeals Council also can be appealed. Individuals who are at this level of appeal can file a lawsuit in a federal district court to appeal the decision of the SSA in denying their claims.

An Attorney Could Help With a Greenville SSDI Hearing

When you receive a denial of SSDI benefits, you may be unsure what to do. An experienced lawyer may be able to assist you in learning your rights to appeal the denial of benefits, including the right to a Greenville SSDI hearing. Contact a dedicated attorney and exercise your rights to ask to have the denial of benefits reviewed.