According to the SSA, there are five levels in the Social Security Disability Insurance application, adjudication and review process. The first step, or level one, is the initial SSDI benefit application. Level one includes filling out forms and submitting supporting vocational and medical evidence to the Social Security Administration.
The Social Security Administration evaluates each application, which must meet the agency’s strict disability requirements. The SSA does not approve every application for SSDI benefits. In fact, the agency denies disability benefits to two-thirds of initial applicants.
Level two is the reconsideration level or first appeal. Medical and vocational information is used to file an appeal, as well as any other supporting evidence that will change the SSA’s decision to deny monthly benefit payments. Sometimes an appeal is successful, especially if a simple filing error is discovered in the initial application.
Level three comes after reconsideration is denied, which requests an oral hearing before a judge. Level 4 consists of the Appeals Council, where a hearing is held to determine disability benefits qualification. Level five is federal district court system, which is pursued by less than 1 percent of all SSDI claimants.
SSDI benefits may be hard to qualify for but are worth the time and effort. SSDI qualified individuals receive a monthly income and are automatically eligible for Medicare benefits in 24 months after receiving SSDI cash benefits.