If the Social Security Administration denied your application for Social Security Disability income, you have the right to appeal the agency’s decision. In fact, many who are eligible for benefits do not receive approval when they first apply.

Take these steps to file an appeal with the SSA. You may want to consult a Social Security attorney who can help determine whether you are eligible for disability benefits and advocate on your behalf.

Request a reconsideration

Reconsideration is the first phase of SSA appeal. You can request reconsideration online if the SSA representative issued the denial for medical reasons or for nonmedical reasons such as income, living situation or assets. You must initiate this process within 60 days of denial.

During this phase, your application will receive a completely new review from a representative who was not involved in the original denial. You can also submit new evidence for consideration.

Request a hearing

If you receive a denial for your application after the reconsideration, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. Once you make the online request, the SSA will schedule the hearing within 75 miles of your home. You can hire an attorney to present the evidence on your behalf or choose to represent yourself at this hearing.

Seek Appeals Council review

Cases that receive a dismissal or denial by the administrative law judge can be reviewed by the Appeals Council. Though anyone can request a review, the council can deny this request if the judge’s decision or denial was in accordance with federal SSDI guidelines.

File a civil suit

Individuals who disagree with the Appeals Council decision can file an appeal in the federal district court within 60 days. The judge in your jurisdiction will hear your case and make a final determination.

A Social Security attorney can help you navigate these four stages of the appeal process. Providing comprehensive documentation and evidence in your case will increase your chances for SSDI approval.