Oklahomans who have an injury or condition that they believe is of sufficient severity that they should get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be frustrated when they are denied Social Security. While there are four levels of appeal to seek an overturning of the decision and to be granted SSD benefits, some cases are more complex. It is possible for a case to be denied not on its merits, but because the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) was unfair. For people who believe this has happened in their situation, it is important to understand the process of filing a complaint.
It is critical to remember that there is a difference between an appeal and a complaint that the ALJ was unfair. If there is a belief that unfair treatment contributed to the denial, the Social Security Administration (SSA) should be informed. This is true, even if the applicant has no plans to appeal. The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the date the action took place or when the applicant became aware of it. This can be done even if the claim for benefits has not yet been decided upon.
All relevant information must be provided, including the person who allegedly committed the unfair treatment, how the treatment took place, when it happened and the words and actions that were unfair. There is a difference between thinking the ALJ was unfair and believing the ALJ made the wrong decision. A wrong decision will be decided on appeal. Claiming the ALJ was unfair is a complaint against the ALJ, not the process.
There can also be a complaint if the applicant believes discrimination happened. It is illegal for a person applying for SSD benefits to be discriminated against because of race, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity and more. The same information and time-frame is applicable for a discrimination complaint.
When these complaints are made, the SSA will order a review by a person who was not involved with the case at any level. Social Security Disability applicants deserve to have their cases judged on whether the benefits should be provided based on the evidence.