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Multiple levels available to appeal denied SSD claim

Receiving a denial for a Social Security disability claim can be frustrating for a Michigan resident. Fortunately, however, the Social Security Administration provides an appeals process for someone who has been denied SSD benefits. A person facing a denied Social Security disability claim has four levels of appeals to pursue.

In a reconsideration appeal, a person's claim will be evaluated in full, and the review will be of evidence originally submitted, as well as any new evidence available. The next option for appeal is a hearing by an administrative law judge, which is available for Michigan residents who do not agree with a reconsideration decision. The judge, who will not have been a part of the original evaluation or the reconsideration process, will conduct a hearing typically within 75 miles of a person's residence to evaluate a person's claim for benefits.

If a person still has not obtained benefits and wishes to pursue an additional appeal, he or she may request an Appeals Council review. The Appeals Council may deny a person's request altogether, or it may review the case and either return the case to an administrative law judge or decide the case itself. Finally, there is an option for review by a federal district court. A petitioner must file a lawsuit to have his or her appeal heard at this stage.

The appeals process can be daunting and stressful, as with each layer of appeal, a person has exhausted one more option. Therefore, it is essential that a person seeking an SSD appeal is as prepared as possible. An attorney may be able to help a Michigan resident present an organized and clear case to the SSA of why he or she both qualifies for, and needs, benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "The Appeals Process," accessed Dec. 4, 2015

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