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The four stages of appeals for denied SSI benefits

Tennessee residents who live on Social Security disability benefits know how difficult it can be to make ends meet. It gets even more difficult when the Social Security Administration decides that the person does not meet the requirements to receive further Supplemental Security Income. However, the person can always appeal the decision made by the SSA, if that person believes that the case should be reviewed again. There are four stages at which a person can appeal, depending on the nature of the case. If the applicant is not satisfied with the outcome at one stage, that person can move to the next stage.

The primary stage of an appeal is "Reconsideration." In that stage, the claim will be reviewed by a person who was not a part of the initial decision. That person will consider all of the original evidence used to make the initial decision and will also take into consideration any new evidence or medical reports that emerge. At this stage, depending on the type of appeal that is filed, the person may choose an informal conference, a formal conference or a case review. Once a decision is made, the SSA will send the person a letter.

In the event that the person does not agree with the outcome of the Reconsideration stage, that person has the option to take the appeal to the next level, which is the "Hearing" stage. The hearing will have an administrative law judge presiding over the case. The judge will not have had any part in the original decision or the reconsideration of the case. That judge will review the claim and consider any new medical reports and evidence, with the added privilege of calling expert witnesses to the stand. Again, the decision is sent to the applicant by mail.

The third stage takes the appeal to the Appeals Council, who either makes an independent decision or send the case back to the administrative law judge to be reviewed for a second time. If the applicant still does not agree with the decision, that person has the option of taking the case to a federal court.

In the rare event that the person does approach a federal court, it may be wise to consult an attorney for advice and guidance.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Your Right to Question a Decision Made on Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claim," Accessed on July 23, 2015

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