Your Social Security disability claim has been denied. What next?
Receiving a denial for a disability claim can be a disheartening experience, especially when you’ve already been through so much. You’re not alone. In fact, 70% of first-time applicants do not meet SSA’s criteria for receiving benefits. However, a denial doesn’t have to mark the end of the road. By understanding the reasons why claims get denied, and how to appeal those denials, you can increase your chances of receiving the payments you need to make ends meet.
Why was my claim denied?
Before initiating the appeals process, it’s important to understand the reasons claims get denied. Claims can be turned down for non-medical reasons, such as lack of “working credits,” income or assets that exceed SSA’s limits, or for a claimant’s refusal to provide information or show up for evaluative exams. Taking the time to understand the technical details of filing claims will help you decide if it’s possible, and worth your time, to apply for reconsideration.
Denial for medical reasons can fall into grayer areas that you and the SSA might interpret differently. Perhaps they don’t believe your impairment is significant enough to warrant benefits. Or maybe they’ve determined you are fit to work in a different type of job. This is when clarifying your situation with more information can make a big difference in making your case to the SSA.
How do I appeal my claim?
You must make your appeal within 60 days. While the SSA can provide you with hard-copy forms, it’s easier to appeal online, where you can quickly and efficiently provide information and upload any electronic documents needed for the process.
Take the time to compile the information you need before beginning the appeal process; you don’t want to find yourself stuck partway through the process. The SSA lists the following items on their site:
- Doctors, hospitals, medical treatments, and tests since you last gave us medical information
- Medicines you are currently taking
- Changes in your medical conditions, daily activities, work, and education
- Supporting documents including forms, medical reports, and written statements
- Being prepared will help you spend less time to complete your disability appeal online.
With this information in hand, you should be ready to start the first level of appeals, reconsideration, in which someone uninvolved with your initial application will review your original and updated information. For this reason, it’s very important that you provide plenty of evidence for the severity of your physical impairment; you will have a second chance with a new pair of eyes.
What happens if your reconsideration also receives a denial? You still have options. The next level, a hearing, involves an administrative law judge reviewing your case. If that step fails, then you can appeal to the Appeals Council, and, finally, a Federal Court review. Not surprisingly, the higher the level of the appeals process, the longer and more complicated the process becomes, sometimes even extending into years.
Getting Further Help
While SSA doesn’t require you to work with a legal representative, doing so can increase your chances of winning an appeal, especially if you request help early in the process. Having an expert at your side will ensure that you complete every step with the details you need to make a compelling case for the benefits you deserve.
Call us at (419) 524-6682 or submit the form to your right to get connected with one of our attorneys. We can help you win your appeal.