We strongly suggest having a lawyer file your appeal (or at least consult one before getting started on your own). You’ll pay nothing to schedule a confidential meeting with a lawyer and get specific advice that applies to your situation. Plus, a lawyer can easily spot mistakes on your application and explain why the SSA denied your claim. Click here to find an experienced lawyer to answer your questions now.
Complete and file Form SSA-561 with your local Social Security office within 60 days after receiving the SSA’s denial letter. If you live in a state that doesn’t offer reconsideration (your denial letter should explain this), skip to Step 3.
Just like Step 2, you have 60 days to request your ALJ hearing (do this as soon as possible!). The SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) usually schedules this hearing 6-12 months after receiving your request. At this stage, most people who win benefits have a lawyer handling their case.
You have another 60 days to dispute the judge’s ruling if you don’t win SSD benefits at this stage. If you miss this filing deadline, your case automatically gets dismissed. You’re only likely to win SSD benefits at this appeals stage if:
Your last appeal option involves suing the SSA. This is expensive and time-consuming (i.e., you may wait 2-9 years for your scheduled federal district court date). Only choose Step 5 if you believe the SSA made legal errors during the application and claim review process. Most lawyers aren’t willing to represent these cases on contingency, or sue the SSA at all.
Click here to learn more about this program.
Your disability isn’t enough to qualify you for benefits. Here are six reasons most SSD claims get denied.
Apply on your own or get professional help filing your SSD claim — either option’s free of charge to you.