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How to Appeal a Social Security Disability Denial

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Because the Social Security Disability application is quite complicated and the review process is appropriately selective, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies many initial applications. Often, this is the result of making simple mistakes in the paperwork or failing to provide supporting documentation. For those who do not receive approval initially, fortunately, there is the opportunity to file an appeal. This best approach throughout the appeals process is to consult a Social Security Disability attorney in Arkansas to increase your chances for success.


If you receive a denial of your Social Security Disability application, you have a 60-day period in which to file an appeal of that decision. This step, called a reconsideration, is available after the first denial of benefits. In many cases, applying for reconsideration also results in denial if a Social Security representative still feels that information is missing or that perhaps you do not qualify.

Hiring an attorney in Arkansas with experience in filing Social Security Disability appeals can help you find overlooked or incomplete items in your paperwork and help you prepare for the next phase in the appeals process.


If your reconsideration application is denied, your appeal can be heard before an administrative law judge. The SSA must receive your request for a hearing before the administrative law judge no later than 60 days after the denial of reconsideration.

At this stage, the odds are significantly tipped in your favor if you retain an experienced attorney. Statistics show that only about 40% of those who bring their case in front of an administrative law judge are successful in their appeal for Social Security Disability. In contrast, about 60% of applicants are successful when they retain an attorney.


If the administrative law judge denies your appeal, the next step is for the Social Security Appeals Council to review that decision. The council can provide one of three decisions regarding your Social Security Disability appeal:

  1. They can grant approval of your application.
  2. They can find the administrative law judge’s decision to be at fault and order a second hearing.
  3. They can deny it outright.

In order to improve your chances of success at this stage, you or your attorney should file a brief outlining your circumstances and highlighting the reasons why you are disabled. You may also call expert witnesses that can testify regarding your abilities and limitations in relation to your claim.


If the Social Security Appeals Council denies your request for Social Security Disability, then there is only one final option: the federal district court. At this stage in the appeals process, it is imperative to have an attorney present. While it is always best to hire a Social Security Disability attorney as early as possible during the appeals process, you can still gain many benefits from doing so for your final appeal before the federal district court.

If you decide to consult with a Social Security Disability attorney in Arkansas regarding your appeal, contact Caddell Reynolds. Contact us today at (800) 889-6944 to schedule a consultation, during which we will review your initial application and help you find the support needed to file a successful appeal.

Image licensed via Creative Commons by Kate Hiscock on Flickr