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Is it worth it to appeal if my Social Security disability stops?

A Missourian who is getting Social Security disability benefits for injury and had the benefits stopped might be discouraged thinking that an appeal is a waste of time. However, the Social Security Administration has multiple levels of appeal and many people who meet the criteria for qualifying SSD benefits for injury have had their benefits stopped and then got them again on appeal. There are four different levels of appeal: reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, going to the appeals council, or filing with federal court. It is vital to understand certain basic factors about the process.

The SSA is not perfect and it does make mistakes in denying benefits or stopping benefits for people who have every right to receive them. Therefore, an applicant has the right to appeal. The person will have 60 days from the time the decision is made to seek an appeal. The countdown for days begins after the letter is received informing the person that the benefits are stopping. A person who misses the cutoff date to appeal can explain to the SSA why the request was late. If there is a good reason, the SSA will allow the appeal.

The benefits can continue while the appeal is in progress. The applicant must make the request within 10 days after the date in which the letter of stoppage was received. Like the appeal itself, if the person goes beyond the 10 days and has a good reason for being late, the SSA will allow the benefits to continue. The benefits can continue for the initial two levels of appeal. It is important to remember that if the appeals are denied, the person might be required to repay some or all of what was received during that time. If the person is cooperative with the SSA and the payments were needed for customary living expenses, the money will not need to be repaid.

Some might think refiling the application is preferable to appealing. When doing this, the person should know that some benefits might be lost or the person might not qualify; the denial in the new application can be for the same reason as the denial in the previous circumstance; and the person cannot ask to receive benefits when starting the entire application process all over again.

When getting Social Security disability benefits for injury, there can be a wide range of interpretations surrounding the injury and whether the benefits are still necessary. Having legal assistance when trying to restart benefits is crucial and a lawyer experienced in Social Security disability can help.

Source: ssa.gov, "Your Right to Question the Decision to Stop Your Disability Payments," accessed on Dec. 5, 2017

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
225 South Meramec Avenue, Suite 426
St. Louis, MO 63105

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