Many people are surprised to learn the truth about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications: Most are denied on the first attempt. In recent years, only about one-third of initial SSDI applications were allowed. That means the Social Security Administration (SSA) rejected a whopping two-thirds.

For those wondering what to do next after receiving a denial letter, do not fret. There are a few ways to get your case looked at again.

How to appeal a denied SSDI application

The SSA can deny an SSDI application for a number of reasons. You almost always have an opportunity to appeal a rejection. This appeal can take a few different forms, depending on the stage, and can be broken into four distinct levels.

  • Reconsideration: The SSA will go over your application again. You can consider including new information or evidence to support your case during this stage.
  • Administrative hearing: A hearing in front of a judge, done in person or through a video conference. This lets you make your argument directly to someone, potentially even with the support of witnesses.
  • Appeals Council: If the hearing does not go your way, you can ask the Appeals Council to look over your case. However, know they can decline to review your case if they believe a previous ruling was correct.
  • Federal lawsuit: If the other three appeal methods do not go the way you hoped, you can consider bringing the case to federal court.

Getting help with an appeal

The SSA makes it clear you are allowed to have help filing an appeal, whether it be from a family member, friend, attorney or someone else you trust. The agency will then work with your representative the same way they would work with you.

Your SSDI application might be denied. That’s just a fact. But that doesn’t mean it is time to throw in the towel. With the right support, there are ways to keep your case going.