Please don't just refile your application and think that it's going to do anything but start the process over again! You file your first appeal online at http://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/appeal.html. You can also call/go to your local office and do it there. You're basically updating your information since you filed your application. If you have an attorney, your attorney will help you. Reconsiderations have a 90% denial rate so it literally means nothing if you are denied. It's just another step in the process. Some states have even gotten rid of this step.
Hearings can be requested the same way. Then your case sits and waits at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review for about a year until they schedule your case with an Administrative Law Judge. This is where you really want to think about whether you want an attorney. Hearing offices don't update medical records so you need to make sure the record is up to date. Legal arguments need to be made, doctors need to give statements, and experts need to be cross examined. Plus there's just the fact that no one wants to go in front of a judge alone without knowing what to expect or what to do. The appeals only get more complex from here.
If you need to appeal again, you file a Request for Review with the Appeals Council, located in Falls Church, Virginia. The form can be found at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ha-520.pdf.
Once the Appeals Council makes their decision, you can file an appeal with the United States District Court. The filing fee is $400.00. The website for the federal court in Arizona is http://www.azd.uscourts.gov/.
If you lose at District Court, you can file in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Their website is at http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/.
Your last appeal is with the United States Supreme Court. Yes, that's right. Your little Social Security case could be heard all the way in Washington D.C. with the nine justices of the Supreme Court. Will it? What most people fail to realize is that the Supreme Court chooses which cases they want to hear. Unfortunately, they very rarely choose to hear Social Security cases. But yes, the case you file online or at your local office or with your friendly local Social Security attorney could go all the way to the Supreme Court! You can check out their website at http://www.supremecourt.gov/.
Could you do all of this on your own without an attorney? People do. The further up the ladder you go, the procedure gets more formal and you need to cite more case law and regulations. At The Foster Law Firm, we take cases right when people are ready to file. I like people to understand that there are always more appeals to be filed and we can jump in at different points in the process. Getting a denial from Social Security doesn't mean that you aren't entitled to disability benefits or that you won't eventually get them. There are many steps in the process and persistence pays off. Contact us today at (480)621-7231 or toll free at (844)303-0735 for your free consult.