If you’re one of many people in Iowa who have suffered an illness or injury that prevents you from being able to work, you may have recently navigated the application process for benefits that are available to people in this condition. The application is detailed, and your condition must meet the requirements that coincide with the government’s accepted definition of “disability.” There are numerous reasons why your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim might receive a denial.
If this is what happened to you, try not to lose heart. It is not uncommon. In fact, many applicants have had their initial claims denied. However, they ultimately were able to receive SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has an appeals process in place. If you believe that you’re entitled to SSD benefits but have received a claim denial, you can file an appeal.
Determine which type of SSD appeal you want to file
If you plan to appeal the decision to deny your SSD claim, you’ll first need to determine which type of appeal best fits your needs. The following list includes basic information regarding the four types:
- Filing a reconsideration appeal is a means to present new evidence to the SSA, such as medical records or laboratory and clinical findings regarding your condition.
- In certain circumstances, you may request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), particularly if the denied amount meets the required threshold.
- You may ask the SSA Appeals Council to review your case, which they will only do if you can provide new evidence related to details that were present preceding and up to the claim denial that would logically change the outcome of the original decision.
- You can file a civil claim in a federal district court, whereby the court will then issue a summons, and the SSA commissioner must respond to explain why the Administration denied your claim, after which you will present an opening brief.
It is important to note that many SSD claims receive approval upon appeal. The appeals process can take a long time — even one full year or more. It can also be stressful, which is why most applicants seek legal support for guidance before activating the process.
60 is an important number in the appeals process
Regardless which of the four types of appeal you choose to navigate, you will only have 60 days to request further review of your case. If you have a hearing with an ALJ, you’ll receive an opportunity to have medical or occupational witnesses present testimony on your behalf.
If the ALJ upholds the original decision to deny your claim, you can then take the next logical step, which would be to ask the SSA Appeals Council to review your case. Many cases reach the federal court level before a denial is overturned. It is helpful to have an experienced advocate by your side as you navigate the system, which might be a family member who has experience in filing an SSD claim appeal or a legal representative who is well-versed in Iowa employment laws.