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What options are available if a person is denied SSD benefits?


Some people in the Houston area must rely on Social Security Disability benefits to help them cover their medical bills and other monthly living expenses. SSD benefits are crucial for many people throughout the country who have a disability, or have suffered an injury, and are unable to work. However, the Social Security Administration denies many initial claims for benefits. But where does this leave the applicant; what options are available if the SSA denies their initial claim?

If an applicant is denied benefits by the state disability determination services, the person can appeal that decision to an administrative law judge at the SSA. In some cases, however, the administrative law judge will reach the same conclusions that the disability determination services found. In that case, the benefits claimant can seek review by the Appeals Council at the SSA.

When a claimant requests such review, the Appeals Council can either deny, dismiss or grant that request for review. Assuming that the Appeals Council grants the request for review, it can then either agree with the administrative law judge's findings, or decide to modify that decision. In addition, the Appeals Council can also decide to send the case back to the administrative law judge for further review.

Sometimes the appeals process does not go the claimant's way, and they wish to proceed with review outside of the administrative process. In that case, the claimant can file for review in federal district court.

Applying for SSD benefits can be tedious and overwhelming. Moreover, the SSA is dealing with millions of initial applications, and hundreds of thousands of requests for review. This can make for frustrating wait times. An experienced SSD attorney may be able to help push a claimant's case through the system so that they can get the best possible outcome.

Source: Office of the Inspector General, "Subsequent Events Related to Denied Claimants," Accessed on June 16, 2016

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