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What to do after an SSD denial

It is not uncommon to receive a denial for Social Security Disability benefits. The application process and requirements to qualify are complex, and many people will make a mistake that leads to a denial. This does not mean that you are out of luck and never get benefits. If you receive a denial notice, then you can take further steps to try to get an approval for your claim. 

You can request an appeal within 60 days after you receive the notice of denial from the Social Security Administration. The notice will also let you know which level of appeal you should request as there are four options: reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, a review by the Appeals Council and review in a federal court. You can make your appeal request online, except for a review in federal court, which requires a different approach. 


You will typically use this option when the SSA denies your application due to medical reasons. You will get a new review by someone who has not seen your claim before. You can use it for a nonmedical review as well, such as a denial for income reasons. 

Administrative law judge hearing 

An administrative law judge may hear your case at a hearing near your home. You can attend in person or via video. You will typically use this option if you have made a reconsideration request and received another denial through that process. 

Appeals Council review 

The Appeals Council will look over your case if you get a denial from an administrative law judge. It may make a ruling on your case or send it back to a hearing before a judge. 

Federal court review 

A federal court review occurs after you have had an Appeals Council review. This is your last option for a review of your case. You will file a civil lawsuit for this type of appeal.