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Do you know enough about the SSD appeals process?

It can be very difficult to receive a letter in the mail informing you that the Social Security Administration has made the decision to stop your disability benefits. Indeed, you will probably experience a variety of emotions from anger and disbelief to sadness and anxiety.

This is understandable, of course, given that you are suffering from a very real and very debilitating medical condition, and likely rely on your benefits to help keep a roof over your head.

The good news, however, is that this letter does not represent the final word on your disability benefits. Indeed, there are four different levels of appeal available to the recipients of disability benefits.

In the next few posts, we'll take a closer look at your rights and options as they relate to the appeals process.

I just received my rejection letter in the mail, what do I need to know?

As we stated earlier, you must understand that this letter does not mean that your disability benefits will be discontinued forever and you have no say in the matter.

What's important to note here is that you have 60 days after receiving this initial letter to request an appeal of the SSA's decision. Here, the agency assumes that you will receive the letter five days after the date on which it was written.

If for some reason you are unable to request an appeal within this 60 days, you may still be able to pursue an appeal provided that you can provide the SSA with good cause, such as not receiving the initial letter on time.

Will I be completely cut off from my disability benefits during the appeals process?

Not necessarily. If you request an appeal within 10 days of receiving the rejection letter, you may also ask the agency to continue paying benefits through the reconsideration and hearing levels. As before, if you fail to meet this timeline, you may still be able to secure disability benefits provided you can provide the SSA with good cause.

We will continue this discussion in future posts. Remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you have received a letter notifying you of the termination of your disability benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Your right to question the decision to stop your disability benefits," Accessed Feb. 11, 2015

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