The Social Security Disability Insurance Appeal Process

What you need to know when filing an appeal and how LaPorte Law Firm’s attorneys can help you simplify the process

What happens if my SSDI claim is denied?

A majority of SSDI claims are denied on the first attempt due to the complex nature of the application process — especially when attempting to navigate the process without the guidance of an attorney. This, however, does not mean the end of the road for your hopes of getting the SSDI benefits you deserve. By filing an appeal within 60 days of the rejection date and going through all the stages of the appeal process, it is possible to reach a favorable outcome.

The appeal process is tedious and requires a great deal of patience and diligence. However, with the right lawyer by your side providing you with expert guidance every step of the way and helping you present your best-possible case, achieving success is more than possible.

How to appeal a rejected claim for Social Security Disability benefits

If you are one of the many applicants for SSDI benefits to have your claim rejected, you have a right to appeal the decision. When pursuing an appeal, it is highly advised to take on the challenging and lengthy process with a trusted legal advisor by your side to guide you through the various stages involved.

Should you wish to appeal the decision regarding your case, you must file a written request within 60 days of your application being denied, following which your claim will then go through the following stages of appeal:


Your case will be reviewed by a new claims examiner who will reconsider your case by taking into account any additional evidence to supplement your claim. If you choose to have legal representation, your attorney will be able to respond to any questions posed to you on your behalf.


Upon denial of your request for reconsideration, you will have 60 days to request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). Being prepared for the hearing is crucial, as this is your opportunity to present the evidence of your case, including the legitimacy of your claim in regard to Social Security Disability law.

Appeals Council

Following an unfavorable decision by the ALJ, you will have 60 days to file a request to the Appeals Council to review your claim; however, being granted another hearing is not a given. If, however, you are granted an additional hearing, your case will either be resolved or you will be required to face an ALJ again.

Federal Court

If you are unsuccessful in the Appeals Council stage, the next step will be to file a federal suit with the Federal District Court.

Do I need a lawyer to appeal a denied claim for SSDI benefits?

With your SSDI claim being denied, the last thing you need is the stress of navigating the confusing and daunting process of filing an appeal alone. What you need is a SSDI expert in your corner who can guide you through the process every step of the way. Although not a requirement, choosing to face the appeal process with the help of a lawyer who specializes in Social Security Disability law will greatly improve your chances of success.

An SSDI lawyer can help you with:

How the SSDI Appeal process works

SSA reviews your file for timeliness (did you file within 60 days of your denial)
If yes, SSA sends your file to DDS for medical review by different experts
DDS requests your updated medical records
DDS may request a medical examination by a consultative examiner
DDS will have a medical consultant review your file
DDS either approves or denies your request for consideration
SSA reviews your file for timeliness (did you file within 60 days of your denial)
If yes, SSA sends your file to DDS for medical review by different experts
DDS requests your updated medical records
DDS may request a medical examination by a consultative examiner
DDS will have a medical consultant review your file
DDS either approves or denies your request for consideration

LaPorte Law Firm has over 40 years of experience in handling SSDI claims and appeals

We have helped thousands of clients get the benefits they deserve by successfully appealing their claims, and we can help you too.

At LaPorte Law Firm, we know how stressful the SSDI appeal process can be. During a tough time in your life and having already had your application rejected at least once, you now also have to face the pressure of meeting strict deadlines for filing an appeal and doing so correctly.

Our team of SSDI experts are here to help remove the burden and simplify the process for you. With decades of experience helping people win their cases and get the benefits they deserve, we will soon get you back on the road to success. We take on cases at all stages of the process, so regardless of how far along you are, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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Free consultation call

Book a free 30- to 60-minute consultation call with us so we can assess your situation.

Evaluation by experts

Receive your free case evaluation from our experienced team, who can review your medical history and discuss how Social Security law applies to your situation.

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Begin the onboarding process with LaPorte Law Firm if your case is taken on by the legal team.

The results you deserve

With over 40 years of service, LaPorte Law Firm has won thousands of claims and appeals for our clients.

Terry has been assisting me with my SSI trial. I very much value and appreciate his time. I am grateful to have him helping me, as I feel confident in his abilities.

Holly M.

Terry went above and beyond to get my brother approved for his Social Security benefits — jumping through many hoops in what should have been an easy process that was complicated by the unusual circumstances of the case. He fought through red tape and managed to get a successful outcome. His integrity and work ethic are fantastic!

Debbie Klahr

I would recommend LaPorte Law Firm to anyone to help you through the Social Security Disability process. They are very helpful and professional.

Michael Mcnulty

How it works:

How we can help:


At LaPorte Law Firm, we only receive a fee if you win your case – so you have nothing to lose. We’re with you every step of the way.
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Frequently Asked Questions

No, there is no upfront fee, as Social Security Disability attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means they only get paid when you win your case.
Attorney’s fees automatically come out of the first retroactive payment of a disability award received by a client.
No, your attorney will not be able to charge a fee unless your case is successful, as Social Security requires disability cases to be done on a contingency basis.
You generally have 60 days to submit an appeal after receiving a denial notice. The SSA assumes five extra days for mailing time, so the actual deadline is 65 days from the date of your decision. Under certain circumstances, however, the SSA will accept a late appeal if you have a good cause. Some reasons the SSA may consider a good cause for filing a late appeal include diminished mental capacity, hospitalization, lost mail, an incorrect address, etc. However, filing a good-cause statement for failing to meet a deadline can lead to delays in the processing of your claim. Therefore, it is important not to delay filing your appeal.
If the SSA denies your claim on the basis that you failed to meet a deadline, you have a right to file a new application. In some circumstances, you can ask the SSA to reopen a previously denied application.

Social Security Disability applicants are typically denied for the following reasons:

  • Criminal convictions: Although prior convictions do not generally affect your ability to obtain Social Security benefits, a convicted criminal will not be able obtain benefits if their disability is a direct result of an action that took place during the commission of a crime, if the disability stems from time spent in a correctional facility, they intentionally became an orphan or a widow/widower to receive benefits, or parole or probation has been violated.
  • Alcohol- or drug dependence-related disability: If a drug or alcohol addiction is determined to have led to your disability, you will not be eligible for benefits.
  • Lack of cooperation: The SSA requires applicants to submit their treating doctors’ medical records. Failure to comply with SSA requirements, such as not submitting your treating doctor’s medical records, leads to Social Security Disability claims being denied. If you do not have a treating doctor, you may be required to undergo an examination with one of the SSA’s doctors; failing to do so may result in your claim being denied.
  • Fraud: Lying on an application may lead to benefits being denied as well as prosecution for fraud.
  • Length of disability: A short-term disability does not meet the requirement for receiving Social Security Benefits, as the SSA requires the disability to last for at least a year or likely to result in death, with the exception being blind applicants.

Award-winning service

Equipped with years of experience and thousands of successful cases, LaPorte Law Firm is the leading disability attorney in the Bay Area, and we have the awards and certifications to prove it.

Watch a free video presentation by the attorneys at LaPorte Law Firm – How to prepare for a Social Security disability hearing

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Everything You Need To Know About
The Social Security Disability application process