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Being denied Social Security Disability or SSI can be a heart-wrenching experience for an applicant. If you’re applying for disability benefits, you believe this is the last and only option. The denial means there isn’t hope or possibilities, and you are now vulnerable to the elements. Fortunately, Social Security and the courts have built a road meant to allow a claimant who has been denied Social Security Disability benefits the ability to challenge the denial. The procedure is known as the appeal process. In the appeal process can be salvation for a claimant’s previously denied claim for benefits, but the appeal has to approached correctly.

First and foremost, the date of the denial for benefits controls whether an appeal can be filed. Generally speaking, all appeals for disability benefits must be filed within 60 days of the denial. Depending on the type of appeal, an extra five days for mailing may be allotted in addition to the traditional sixty days. Do not rely on the additional five days. Strange things can happen with mail, and it isn’t uncommon for Social Security to fail to acknowledge the extra five days for filing. Also, the quicker the appeal is filed, the faster the case will be decided. Waiting until the last day to file an appeal makes the process take longer.

Appeals can take a significant amount of time from the beginning to the end. Sometimes this can be an advantage. For people who haven’t been treating consistently or frequently, this is the opportunity to build a medical file. Cases are decided almost entirely on medical records. Many use the appellate waiting period to start receiving treatment and accumulate medical records. The medical treatment received during the appeal process can often be the difference between winning and losing.

If you are looking to appeal your case, the best thing you can do is hire an attorney. The appellate process is complex, and flying blind is not advised. Make sure the attorney is a social security disability and SSI specialist. This will put you in the best possible position to prevail in your case.