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The 4 levels of the SSDI appeals process

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2022 | Social Security Disability

Many Minnesota Social Security Disability Insurance applicants wind up having the U.S. Social Security Administration deny them benefits for various reasons. Sometimes, this happens because an applicant fails to meet the administration’s tight definition of “disability.” Other times, it happens because an applicant failed to provide appropriate documentation during the application process, among other reasons.

Per SSA.gov, applicants who receive denials after applying for SSDI may decide to file appeals. If they do so, they may have to navigate as many as four stages of the SSDI appeals process.

Level 1 – Reconsideration

During the reconsideration stage, someone who did not make the decision to deny an applicant benefits the first time around takes another look through the application to see if he or she makes the same conclusion.

Level 2 – Hearing with administrative law judge

If an applicant receives another denial after reconsideration, he or she may ask for an in=person hearing with an administrative law judge. This judge would also have no part in reviewing or denying the applicant’s original application.

Level 3 – Review by the appeals council

An applicant may ask for a review by the appeals council if the administrative hearing fails to result in him or her receiving approval for benefits. This typically takes place virtually.

Level 4 – Federal court review

An applicant’s last shot at receiving approval for SSDI involves filing a civil action in a federal district court.

Applicants who plan to appeal their denied SSDI applications have to launch their appeals within 60 days of finding out the SSA denied their initial claims.