The Social Security Administration oversees the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides cash benefits to low-income individuals who are elderly or disabled. The SSA frequently makes decisions regarding who was entitled to receive benefits, the amount of those benefits and, in some cases, whether the people have been overpaid benefits that they now must repay. West Virginia residents who apply for or receive benefits may at times disagree with the SSA's decisions.
Fortunately, when this happens, people can appeal it. The first step in the appeals process is requesting a reconsideration. This is done by mail. If the SSA stands behind its decision, the person may decide to request a hearing. During the hearing, the applicant or beneficiary who is appealing the decision can present their case before an administrative law judge. The person filing the appeal can also appoint a representative to speak on his or her behalf.
If an appeal fails at this point, the petitioner can then request that the judge's decision undergo review by an appeals council. From there, the case can go to federal court. While it is clear that the appeals process can take a long time, it does exist to protect the interests of those who are in need of benefits.
Because of the complexity of these cases, many people may benefit from speaking with an experienced Supplemental Security Income attorney. Legal counsel can review the client's case and make recommendations regarding the appeals process. Individuals who are considering applying for SSI benefits for the first time may also benefit from getting legal advice.