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Denied Social Security: the basics of filing an appeal (Part 2)

When the Social Security Administration denies a claim for benefits -- something most applicants will experience at least once -- an appeal is the next step. Once a Bremen resident has gathered medical documentation to support the contention that Social Security Disability benefits were denied incorrectly, it's time to submit the appeal.

The important factor in submission is timing. The appeal must be submitted within 60 days of receiving the initial denial. The SSA will calculate this by adding 5 days to the date of their denial letter (assuming mail generally takes around 5 days to reach the recipient). If the deadline is missed for a good reason, it may still be allowed, but absent such a reason late requests will not be accepted and starting the process over with a new claim would be the only option.

The appeal can be submitted in one of two ways. One is online through the Social Security Administration website. The other is by completing the three required forms -- SSA-561, SSA-3441 and SSA-827 -- and either mailing them to one's nearest SSA office or delivering them in person. Copies of all documents should be maintained in case they are lost in the mail or by the SSA itself.

At that point, the ball is in the SSA's court, and it will likely be several months before they reach a decision. The bad news is that the rate at which initial appeals (also known as reconsiderations) are denied is quite high. But this is not the end of the road: there are several additional options available, and the SSA cannot challenge one's right to representation by an experienced legal professional during the process.

Source: FindLaw, "Disability Reconsideration: Appealing a Denied Claim," accessed Nov. 4, 2017

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