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Considerations when appealing a denied SSD claim

The Social Security Disability application process has specific requirements that must be met or the claim will be denied on a technical basis. Similarly, an incomplete application will be denied. However, when an Indiana claimant is qualified to receive SSD benefits and properly applies, he or she is most anxious to receive an award letter from the Social Security Administration acknowledging a finding of disability, the amount to be received and when the monthly benefit will begin. However, for the majority of claimants, things are not that simple.

The manner in which a response from the SSA is received depends on where the claimant is in the SSD process. Specifically, disability experts indicate that if the claimant is filing an initial claim or is at the first level of appeal, called reconsideration, evaluations are rendered at the state disability office. At these levels, an examiner makes a decision based on the paperwork filed and sends the decision back to the claimant's local SSA office for processing. Unfortunately, more than half are typically denied initially, and the denial rate on reconsideration is even higher.

If a claimant appeals after denial at reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative judge is the next step. Decisions here take longer to process, but ultimately the claimant will receive a Notice of Decision, which indicates either approval or denial. If approved, the letter will provide the payment information, but actual payment including any back pay awarded will take some time to be processed through a regional center.

Legal representation is permitted at any stage of the SSD process. Indianapolis, Indiana, attorneys handling social security disability can provide insight into the process and may be especially helpful at the administrative hearing level. Claimants with legal counsel at this level have a higher statistical probability of receiving benefits than those who are self-represented.

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