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What are the rights of appeal for a denied benefits application?


Oklahoma residents have disagreements with others virtually every day, whether they be small or large in nature. On some occasions, these disagreements are due to misunderstandings or mistakes, and it is important that these mistakes be corrected in order to set the record straight.

In the legal system, disagreements are common. For instance, no matter how hard a person tries, there are often claims for Social Security disability insurance benefits that are denied when they are first presented to an official in the Social Security Administration. While this can be frustrating for the person who was denied their much-needed benefits, individuals should understand that they have certain rights they can exercise in these situations.

There are multiple levels of reviewing or appealing denied SSI claims. First, individuals can ask for reconsideration of the initial decision, which lets another person look at the evidence and make a determination.

A second level of appeal is to ask for a hearing to be conducted by an administrative law judge. The individual can present their case at the hearing, after which the judge will issue a written decision. If the individual disagrees with this decision, they can seek a third level of appeal by asking for review from the Social Security's Appeals Council. The Appeals Council has different options available, including denying the request, making a different determination or returning the matter to the administrative law judge.

Finally, if the person still has not received a favorable decision, they can seek review in the federal court system. This means filing a lawsuit in the courts, which asks the federal judge to review the decision made by the Social Security Administration. Accordingly, while it may not be necessary to reach this step, individuals should understand their right of appeal when they seek disability benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "The appeals process," accessed on Dec. 5, 2014

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The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

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