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What are my options for appeal following a denied SSI claim?

Tennessee residents who apply for Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be aware that there is a chance that their initial application for benefits will be denied. Despite the significant need that many people have for SSI benefits, all too often the Social Security Administration denies claims.

Fortunately, the SSA does have a thorough process for appeals. One appeals option is to have a hearing before an administrative law judge, as this blog reported in a previous post. This is not a Tennessean's only option, however. In the event a disabled individual does not agree with the decision made by an administrative law judge regarding a denied SSI claim, he or she can request a review by the Appeals Council. In the event the Council determines that a case warrants further consideration, the Council may review the case itself and make a decision, or send the case to an administrative law judge to review. Unfortunately, the Appeals Council does not hear all cases.

Federal court review is available as another option in the event that the Appeals Council chooses not to review a case, or if a Tennessean does not agree with the decision of the Appeals Council. To pursue this option, a lawsuit must be filed in federal district court.

It is possible for a person to continue to receive benefits while an appeal is being considered, upon request. A person who has been told that his or her medical condition is not disabling and is appealing this decision may request to continue to receive benefits during the appeals process. Additionally, a person who has been told that he or she no longer qualifies for SSI benefits, or that the benefits are being suspended, may still be able to receive benefits during the appeals process.

A person considering an appeal may wish to seek legal counsel. It can be a daunting process to obtain SSI-related benefits, particularly through the appeals process, and assistance may be helpful.

Source:, "The Appeals Process", accessed Oct. 16, 2015

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