The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits to those who have sustained injuries that prevents them from being gainfully employed. IF, upon filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and you receive a denial of benefits, you should contact a New Jersey SSD lawyer to appeal the decision.

The SSA appeals process has three levels. If you disagree with the decisions made at the lower levels, you can continue to the next step.

Decision reconsideration

The first step in the Social Security appeals process is to ask for reconsideration of your decision. You have 60 days from the date of your notice to contact the SSA at the address or telephone number on your notice. When your request for reconsideration is received, someone who had nothing to do with your first decision will review your case, including any new information and provide you with a new decision. You do not have to be present at a reconsideration review.

Request a hearing

If you do not agree with the decision provided to you after your reconsideration review, then you can begin the next step of the appeals process, which is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Your request must be made in writing, and you can complete your request online. If you wait longer than 60 days to request a hearing, your request must be accompanied by a reasonable explanation of why it took so long.

You are required to appear at the hearing before the ALJ. You will receive a notice at least 20 days before the hearing with details about the time and location. You have a right to be represented by an attorney at the hearing (recommended), and you may submit evidence and call forth witnesses.

SSA Appeals Council

If you do not agree with the decision made by the ALJ at your appeals hearing, then you have the right to take your appeal to the highest level: the SSA Appeals Council. The Appeals Council considers all requests, but a new hearing will be denied when they believe the decision of the ALJ was clearly correct.