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The 4 levels of the SSDI appeals process

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As a North Carolina resident who has a disability that is serious enough to keep you from working, you may have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance only to have the U.S. Social Security Administration deny your claim. This may have you feeling extremely frustrated, and you may, too, be wondering what options might be available to you now.

Per the SSA, if the administration denied your SSDI claim within the last 60 days, you have the option of moving forward with filing an appeal. There are four specific stages in the SSDI appeals process.


In the reconsideration stage, you ask someone who did not review your initial claim to review it with a fresh set of eyes. The idea here is to see if the second party agrees with the first party who denied your claim for medical reasons.

Administrative Hearing

If the reconsideration fails to produce the results you want, you may request a meeting with an administrative law judge to take place within 75 miles of your home.

Appeals Council Review

If the judge at your administrative hearing agrees your claim lacks merit, the next step involves requesting a review by an appeals council. The appeals council may or may not agree to hear your case.

Federal Court Review

If all else fails, you may decide to move forward with a federal court review. This is your last option for receiving approval for SSDI benefits.

Having an attorney is not a requirement of working through the SSDI appeals process. However, many find that doing so improves their chances of a successful appeal.

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