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What Should I Do If My Social Security Disability Is Denied?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2013 | Blog, social security disability

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance can be a trying process that. Statistically, your social security disability application is more likely to be denied the first time you apply. But don’t be discouraged by your initial response; the majority of applicants must appeal their case at least once before they receive benefits.

Appeal – don’t reapply.
Unless the circumstances of your medical condition have changed, it’s better to appeal your case rather than start over. Why? When you reapply, you lose the right to disability benefits from the time between your first and second submission. In contrast, applicants who appeal and are awarded benefits are eligible for back benefits from the date of their original petition.

If you are considering an appeal, keep in mind that you only have 60 days from the date printed on your denial letter to do so. After two months, your only option is to reapply, which takes a lot of time and makes any subsequent appeals less effective.

Why were you denied?
The first step in crafting your appeal is to figure out why you were denied. That way, you can provide whatever paperwork is necessary to challenge the SSA’s decision. If you make too much money per month or have a disability that will presumably last less than a year, you are not eligible for disability insurance. However, some common reasons for denial are easier to rectify. For instance, if you were denied for not following your physician’s prescribed treatment, but can prove that you did not do so because of an inability to pay or a conflict with your religious beliefs, your appeal has a much better chance of going through.

Next steps
You can file for an appeal either online or in writing. The first level of appeal – Request for Reconsideration – must be filled out within 60 days of your denial. If you are denied again, your next step is to see an administrative law judge. If your request is denied by a judge, your next steps are the Appeals Council and a Federal District Court, respectively. Having the support of a social security lawyer can be immensely helpful during the appeal process, especially if you must present your case before a court. An attorney who’s well-versed in social security disability can transform a complex and intimidating process into an approachable one.