If you’ve received a notice from the Social Security Administration that your disability claim has been denied, don’t worry, because your claim is far from over. In the state of New York, you have 60 days to formally appeal your case and request that your claim be heard in front an Administrative Law Judge. Otherwise known as the “hearing level,” this is a common step in the disability process because an overwhelming majority of claims are denied upon an initial application.
Appealing your initial decision is also known as a “Request For Hearing.” There are basically 3 ways to do this:
The Online Appeal
The easiest way to appeal your case is right on the computer, in the comfort of your own home. You can simply log onto Social Security’s website, click on “Apply For Benefits,” and continue to follow the directions in appealing your case. Social Security asks you for some preliminary information and then has you fill out a Disability Report Appeal. The great thing about the online appeal is that you can complete it at your own speed and you know exactly what pieces of information are submitted. One you complete the appeal, Social Security will provide you with a confirmation number followed by an acknowledgment letter that Social Security has successfully received your request for a hearing. Make sure you hold onto all coorespondence from the Social Security Administration because often times, Social Security makes mistakes and loses key information pertaining to your case.
If you do not have easy access to a computer, you can walk right into your local Social Security Office and let the representative know that you would like to formally appeal your denial. The representative will likely schedule an appointment for you in which you will return to your local office on a specific date to appeal your case. If you are close to your appeal deadline, this option might not be the best one. Remember, you only have 60 days to request a hearing so it’s important that you aware of your deadline. Click here for Social Security’s online office locator.
Appeal By Hand
If mobility is an issue and you have no access to a computer, Social Security will send you a form called a Disability Report Appeal. This form is similar to what you filled out in your initial application, but on this one, you answer questions as to whether or not your condition has changed since the time you applied. You will include new treatments for your conditions, new doctors you might be treating with, and any other information that has changed since you initially applied for disability benefits. This form is identical to what you can complete over the internet and if you are filling it out by hand, make sure you retain a copy for yourself.
Taking advantage of just one of these tactics will give a new life to your disability claim. A denial does not mean that you are not disabled. It’s Social Security’s way of rejecting your application upon your initial filing. The hearing level provides a much better review of your case and your chances of winning significantly increase when you are heard by an Administrative Law Judge.