If I get denied disability benefits at a hearing, what next?

If you are denied Social Security Disability benefits at a hearing, it is natural for you to think that there is no hope that you will be approved for SSDI benefits. And to be sure, being denied after this hearing is a definite setback for someone seeking benefits, especially if they cannot engage in work that earns enough money to live on. Additionally, you have probably been in the application and appeals process for a long time, and you may feel defeated.

There are quite a few reasons why you may be denied at your disability hearing. One of the most common reasons individuals are denied at this stage is that they do not have legal representation by a qualified disability attorney. Statistics don't lie – individuals who have an attorney have nearly a fifty percent increase in their chances of getting approved for disability benefits at this hearing. 40% of claimants who are unrepresented lose their case, while 60% of claimants who are represented by an attorney will generally be approved at this hearing.

Your next step to follow if you were denied Social Security Disability benefits in a hearing is to appeal that denial. This is filed with the Appeals Council, which is responsible for reviewing the decisions of the disability judges. If the Appeals Council denies your appeal, you may appeal that decision in a Federal District court.

If you are denied at the AJL hearing, your attorney may advise you to file a review with the Appeals Council and start a new disability claim for Social Security Disability benefits. You do this in an effort to maximize the chance you have for success. While the judge's denial is being reviewed by the Appeals Council, an examiner can review your new claim. If your condition has become worse, or you have more current medical records, you may stand a better chance of being approved.