As disabled residents of Ohio may know, the most crucial step in attempting to get approved for Social Security disability benefits is the initial application. Although the common refrain is that more than half of initial applications for SSD benefits get denied, a strong initial application is probably the best chance any Ohio resident has of getting the benefits they deserve. Unfortunately, the reality is that many applications for SSD benefits do, in fact, get denied. So, what do our readers need to know about the Social Security disability appeals process?

Well, for starters, it is important to know that an appeals process exists. Any applicants for SSD benefits who have seen their initial application denied may avail themselves of the appeals process, if they so desire. There are multiple levels to the SSD benefits appeals process.

First, there is a stage know as “reconsideration.” In this first stage of the process, the application will be reviewed by another person within the Social Security Administration who was not involved in the decision to deny the initial application. This “second look” may result in an approval decision for the application. But, if not, an applicant can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). During this hearing, applicants are allowed to discuss their initial application in detail and they are allowed to present additional evidence or even call witnesses to testify.

If the application for SSD benefits is still denied after the hearing with the ALJ, applicants can request that the application be review by the Social Security Administration Appeals Council. And lastly, if that step is also unsuccessful, applicants can pursue a claim in federal court regarding the denial of the application for SSD benefits.