Central Business District, New York

4 Stages of Appealing a Disability Benefits Claim September 16, 2020

Central Business District, Rochester
4 Stages of Appealing a Disability Benefits Claim, Rochester, New York

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits for individuals who can't work or can work only partially due to some form of disability. You can claim disability benefits long-term or short-term—for example, if you're injured and unable to perform your normal duties at work. Your SSDI claim may be denied at first, however, a disability attorney can help you appeal the decision. Here's what to expect.

How to Appeal Disability Benefits After a Denied Claim

1. Petition for Reconsideration

The first step is to ask for a review of your initial claim's denial by completing Form SSA-561. The reconsideration is done by a medical consultant and an examiner different from those who performed the initial review. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of claims that are reconsidered end up being approved.

2. In-Person Hearing

disability benefitsIf the reconsideration determination is negative, you can ask for an in-person hearing. This is done in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). To request the hearing, complete Form HA-501. You have to make this request within 60 days of getting the negative reconsideration decision. 

3. Appeals Council

If the judge's decision is negative, you can further your appeal by completing Form HA-520. This requests a hearing in front of an appeals council. Again, this must be done within 60 days of getting your decision.

At this point, you may submit new evidence to further support your claim. If the appeals council agrees to review your request—they can deny or dismiss it—a new hearing may be required.

4. Federal Court Review

If the appeals council still doesn't give you a satisfactory decision, you can appeal your case in federal court. This is done by filing a civil action with your local U.S. District Court. An attorney should help you with this process.


The law firm of Vincent J. Criscuolo & Associates in Rochester, NY, is dedicated to helping clients get the disability benefits they are due. Client satisfaction is their top priority. They make themselves easily accessible and provide straightforward communication, answering your questions clearly and honestly. Visit their website to learn more about their SSDI work. To request a meeting with a lawyer, call (585) 232-3240.

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