Denied Social Security Disability Benefits

Unlike requests for Retirement benefits, requests for Social Security Disability benefits are frequently denied. You can and should appeal the Social Security Administration's decision if your request for disability benefits is denied. Over 53% of appeals are awarded benefits and nearly 90% of awards are fully favorable for the person appealing. If your request for Social Security Income is denied you should:

  • File an appeal immediately. You must appeal within 60 days
  • Carefully read the denial letter to determine why your request was denied
  • Do not resubmit a new claim. Subsequent requests will also be denied
  • Do not be discouraged by the Social Security Administration's slow, frustrating bureaucracy. Your livelihood depends on it!

Types of Appeals

There are two kinds of appeals—Request for Reconsideration and Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge. In a Request for Reconsideration you can submit additional information or clarify anything that the Social Security Administration may have missed. With a Request for Reconsideration you do not meet the person who decides your case. In a Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge you will have the opportunity to stand before a judge (with a Social Security Appeals Attorney) to make your case.


It often takes months to get a hearing—there are 1700 judges who hear Social Security Income Appeals and each one hears hundreds of cases per year. The denial letter you receive from the Social Security Administration will tell you which form of appeal you should try. If you attempt a Request for Reconsideration and are denied again you can appeal a second time by requesting a hearing.

Appeal Forms

You can complete and submit your SSI or Disability Income Appeal yourself or hire a lawyer to do it for you. Often you should submit the appeal application immediately to ensure it is received as soon as possible. Appeal requests must be received by the SSA within 60 days. You can hire a lawyer after you have submitted the request. To appeal a decision, complete the online application or print, complete and mail your

Submit forms to your nearest Social Security Administration office.

Whats Next: Should I Hire an Attorney?

There are pros and cons to hiring an attorney to represent you during the appeals process. A lawyer will be familiar with the process and will be able to more effectively make your case. Not only will you be more likely to win your case with a lawyer on your side you will likely more money than you would have without representation. Many people who represent themselves to not know to argue for back pay and lost wages.

In addition, your lawyer will only be paid if you win your case. This means the lawyer will be working hard to make your case and get as much money for you as possible. The downside is that lawyers are expensive. If you are confident you can make your case without a lawyer it may be in your best interest.