Call Now! Call Now!
(717) 888-8888

Understanding How the Social Security Disability Appeals Process Works

Social Security disability is a federal program that pays benefits to disabled people who are “insured,” meaning they worked long enough in a job that withheld Social Security taxes. Many Social Security disability (SSD) claims are denied initially—often because the applicants failed to prove that they meet the medial requirements for disability under the program.

Request for Reconsideration

If your initial application was denied, one option is to submit a request for reconsideration, which must be submitted within 60 days of the date of the denial. In short, a request for reconsideration is a formal request to have the Social Security Administration look at your case again. There are two ways your denial may be overturned at the reconsideration stage:

  • The reconsideration examiner finds that the first examiner made an error
  • New evidence is provided


Unfortunately, the denial rate at the reconsideration level is also very high. However, after the request for reconsideration is denied, an applicant has the option to request a hearing with an administrative law judge.

Disability Hearing

A disability hearing must be requested within 60 days of the reconsideration denial. At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to present your case to a judge and prove that you meet the requirements for Social Security disability. Following is some important information regarding a disability hearing:

  • The hearing is usually held within 75 miles of your home. However, in some cases, a video conference may take the place of an in-person hearing.
  • Administrative law judges preside over these hearings. These judges are federally appointed and are independent from the Social Security Administration.
  • An administrative law judge is someone was not involved in the review of your initial application or your request for reconsideration.
  • It can take many months for a hearing to be scheduled.
  • The administrative law judge will review your file and may request that you provide additional evidence before the hearing.
  • You can bring medical and vocational experts to the hearing to testify on your behalf.
  • The judge will question you and your witnesses to understand the extent of your disability.


Have you been denied Social Security disability benefits? Many applicants are denied because they are unclear about what evidence to present and how to present it—not because they do not meet the disability qualifications. Are you ready to get the process back on track? Contact our experienced legal team to to discuss your specific situation. We are standing by to help.