First of all, don't give up. What you do next, will be determined by what stage in the process you received your denial.
Let's start with the easy ones:
1. You filed your initial application and then received a denial. Easy, file what is called a Reconsideration. You can file it either online or at the local field office. Either way, you'll need to explain to SSA why you believe they were wrong in denying your claim. At this stage, you'll want to make sure you update your medical records and tell them if your condition has become better or worse or stayed the same.
2. You filed the Reconsideration and then were denied again. Easy again, file another appeal (online or in person) and this time it will be for an Administrative Law Judge to hear your case. At this stage, be patient. It will take anywhere from about 10 to 18 months for your hearing to be scheduled. Be sure and update all your medical records so the judge can make a completely informed decision.
3. The judge denied your case again. This time, it was after your hearing. This time to file an appeal is not so easy. In order for the judge's decision to be overturned, you'll have to show that either he ignored facts about your case, or he did not properly interpret the law. If you do decide to file appeal after your hearing, your case will be sent to the Appeals Council in Virginia, and you will need to wait about 18 to 24 months to receive an answer. If your appeal is granted, you'll then be rescheduled to have another hearing before the same judge that denied your case in the first place.
However, it's worth noting at this stage there is an alternative. You may want to think about filing a new application for disability benefits. Now, there's more to this than just deciding to refile a new application. Your work credits really are important here, as well as your new alleged onset date. If you do decide to file a new application after a denial at your hearing, and you have not hired an experienced disability attorney up until this point, you should really do so.
4. But, moving on. If you case was denied by the Appeals Council, you can keep your case moving forward still again. This time, you can file in federal district court and request another judge to review your case. By this time, you would be insane not to have hired an experienced disability attorney. But nonetheless, people are successful at this stage. Federal district courts have no problem remanding a case back to SSA if it has not been handled properly.
5. If all else fails, and you believe that much in your case, you can appeal a denial at the federal district court level to Circuit Court of Appeals and even onto the Supreme Court of the United States. Don't lose heart, but this route will likely take you about 5 to 7 years to fully complete.
If you've been denied and you need help with your Social Security disability case, please call us anytime at: (888) 780-9125.