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The appeals process protects disabled applicants for benefits

Initial claims for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are oftentimes initially denied. Though the process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSD) can be complex and frustrating at times, an application that is initially denied is not the end of the process because an extensive appeals process is available to applicants who have been denied SSD benefits.

In a number of situations, an application is denied because the evidence of a medical condition causing disability is not adequate or additional information is required. In general, disabled individuals with adequate work history who have a medical condition that is expected to last for 12 months or longer or result in death, and prevents the applicant from performing gainful work, are eligible to receive SSD benefits. Proof of their medical condition, work history and the impact of the physical or mental medical condition are required as part of the application process. If an application has been denied, the appeals process can step in to help applicants.

The appeals process entails several levels including a request for reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, a SSA Appeals Council review and the option to file an appeal in federal court. The appeals process is directed by the applicant and important time limits apply so it is essential for the applicant to thoroughly understand the appeals process and their rights when applying for SSD benefits. Unfortunately, a denied claim for disability benefits may sometimes be the beginning of the process.

At times, additional information, or more thorough information, is all that is required which is why the appeals process is available to applicants. Because disabled individuals may rely on disability benefits, the appeals process helps guide applicants through the sometimes confusing process of obtaining SSD benefits.

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