If I am denied disability benefits, how can I appeal the ruling?

Do not panic if your Social Security Disability application is denied. Cases are more often denied than approved, and this is sometimes only because the information provided was not complete. There are steps you must take in order to appeal a disability denial. A qualified representative or attorney can ensure that the SSA has all the information they need for your case.

First, you will need to sign a request for Reconsideration, and the SSA will review your case to make sure that they have all the required information. If your information is unclear or if you are missing some pieces of the required information, they may contact you for additional information.

If you did not originally sign your medical release forms, the Social Security Administration will contact you and make ask that you complete them. If they have that report already, they will review it, and make sure that all of your information is complete.

They will send your case along to the office where it will be determined whether you are disabled to the point where you can not work. In turn, that office may require you to send any medical records that you listed but did not originally send. That office will look over all of your past and present medical records, and they will meet with you if you wish to do so. The office in charge of the final decision will let you know in writing about their decision regarding your case.

The appeals process entails four steps. The first is the previously mentioned request for Reconsideration.

After your case is reviewed, you must complete the request for hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. You may request a face-to-face meeting, if you so desire.

A request for review of your order or decision will set you up for an Appeals Council Review. This cannot be done online. It will be sent to the office of Adjudication & Review, and someone there is responsible for reviewing your medical records and notifying you of the decision in writing.

The final step is taking your case against the Social Security Administration in your District Court. You need to have a disability attorney or advocate represent you for this phase of your appeal. Your case will then be heard by a judge in the District Court, and he or she will notify you of their decision in writing.