Learning your initial claim for Social Security disability benefits has been denied can be incredibly distressing. After all, those in Tennessee seeking SSD benefits are often in a dire financial situation and are depending on these benefits to meet their daily needs. However, an initial denial of benefits is not the end of the story; there is an appeals process. The following is an overview of the four-step appeals process following an initial denial of SSD benefits.
Step 1: Reconsideration
The first step in the SSD appeals process is reconsideration. Through reconsideration, a person who was not involved in the initial decision will review your claim to determine if you qualify for benefits. They may request additional information on your medical state, as well as considering information already contained in your claim when making a decision.
Step 2: Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
If you are denied benefits in reconsideration, the second step in the SSD appeals process is attending a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ will have had not part in your original claim for benefits or reconsideration of your claim. The hearing will be held within 75 miles of the place where you reside, via video conference or online. It is important to know that it can take months or even a year for a hearing to be scheduled.
Step 3: Review by the Appeals Council
If the ALJ denies your claim for benefits, the third step in the SSD appeals process is a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review your claim and either approve it, deny it or return it to an ALJ for further review. The Appeals Council has the discretion as to whether or not to review your claim for benefits.
Step 4: Federal Court review
If the Appeals Council denies your claim or decides not to review it, the final step in the SSD appeals process is to file a claim in a federal district court.
Learn more about the SSD appeals process
Having your initial claim for SSD benefits denied can be disheartening, but it is not the end of the story. It may be possible to appeal. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about appealing a denial of SSD benefits may find our firm’s website to be a useful source of information.