Denied social security claimIf you applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) but were denied benefits, you’re not alone. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies between 60 and 70 percent of SSDI applications each year, often due to insufficient medical evidence or mistakes in the application paperwork.

Once you’ve received a denial letter, you have just 60 days (roughly two months) to initiate an appeal. That’s hardly enough time to learn the complexities of the SSDI appeals process, especially when you’re in such poor health. Don’t go at it alone.

Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced disability appeals lawyer to represent you can save you considerable stress, time, and effort – not to mention improve your chances for a successful outcome. Here’s what you should know about appealing an SSDI denial and how the exceptional Boston disability attorneys with Keefe Disability Law can help you.

Experience That Matters 

Appealing an SSDI denial can be confusing, frustrating, and more than a little intimidating. At Keefe Disability Law, we know the ins and outs of the complex Social Security disability system – and how to make it work for our clients. Since 1994, our adept attorneys have helped thousands of disabled clients get the financial benefits they need to survive when a severe medical impairment prevents substantial gainful activity (SGA). 

Understanding the SSDI Appeals Process 

The SSDI appeals process has four levels. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect – and the benefits of having skilled representation – at each level.

  • Reconsideration. The first level of appeal is a complete reevaluation of your claim by a disability examiner not involved in the initial decision. You can submit new or additional evidence for review. Our attorneys can review your initial applications, correct mistakes or omissions, and assist you in obtaining the evidence needed to convey the severity of your condition to the SSA.
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge. If you received a denial at the reconsideration level, you can request a hearing by an ALJ. This hearing has strict procedural and evidentiary rules that you’re unlikely to know as a layperson. Having a seasoned lawyer at this stage can increase your chances for approval.
  • Review by the Appeals Council. If you disagree with the ALJ’s ruling, the next step is to request an Appeals Council review. From there, the council could dismiss your request and uphold the ALJ ruling, issue a new decision, or return the matter to the ALJ for further action. Our attorneys will advocate for your best interests at every step.
  • Federal Court review. If you disagree with the Appeals Council's decision or the council refuses your request for review, you can file a civil lawsuit in a Federal district court. This last level of appeal involves complex litigation, which makes having a skilled disability attorney absolutely imperative. 

Our Contingency Agreements Mean You CAN Afford a Disability Attorney 

SSDI applicants are often reluctant to hire a disability attorney because they’re worried they can’t afford the expense. Fortunately, Keefe Disability Law accepts cases on contingency so that you can take advantage of accomplished legal representation without concern for the cost. There are no upfront fees, and you pay nothing unless we win your case. If you’re approved for SSDI, we receive a portion of your back pay. The SSA pays us directly, while you receive a check for the remainder of your back-pay, so you never have to worry about the cost of our services. Have questions? Talk to us about your SSDI claim and our contingency agreements.

Schedule a Consultation

Complete our online contact form or call 508-283-5500 to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of Keefe Disability Law’s legal team. For more information, browse our online FAQs or request a free download of our informative guide, 7 Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Claim.


Patrick Hartwig
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Managing Attorney, Keefe Disability Law