Social Security disability benefits are important for many disabled individuals but the process of applying for benefits can be challenging and it can be even more difficult to receive benefits. As a result, it is important for disabled individuals to be familiar with the application process for Social Security disability benefits but to also understand the Social Security disability appeals process.

Qualifying for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits is based on the medical condition of the applicant and their qualifying work history. The disabled individual must suffer from a medical condition that is severe enough that it prevents them from working and is expected to last for 12 months or longer or result in death. An initial claim for benefits is usually denied. It is helpful to know how to fill out the application and to provide the required documentation but also to be familiar with the appeals process because so many applications for benefits are denied.

There are four stages of the appeals process for disabled individuals to be familiar with. The first level of appeal is a request for reconsideration which initiates a new review process from the beginning. The next stage of appeal if the application remains denied is a hearing before the administrative law judge. It is important for the disabled individual to be prepared for their hearing, know what evidence to provide and generally know what to expect. The next stage of appeals process is the Appeals Council review followed by an appeal to the federal courts.

Because of the complexity of the process, and importance of benefits, trained guidance to help navigate the Social Security disability process can be useful. Disabled individuals should be aware of their appeals rights if their claim for SSD benefits has been denied.