Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be frustrating, especially if your application is denied. Because more than 60% of SSD applicants are denied on their initial submission, many applicants apply again, asking for reconsideration. Only about 13% of those who are denied the first time and apply again are granted that reconsideration. The following information is provided to help you understand what to do if your initial application is denied.
Step 1: Apply for Reconsideration
If you think you have a case and want to apply for reconsideration, you must appeal that denial within 60 days. Be aware that the 60 day countdown starts five days after the postmark on the denial letter that you should have received in the mail. The person who will be reviewing your appeal for reconsideration will be someone who was not involved with the original denial and will consider any new evidence that you submit.
Step 2: Apply for a Hearing
If your application for reconsideration has been denied, don’t lose hope! A little over 60% of cases that have reached the Hearing part of the process receive approval. You can still schedule a hearing with an administrative law judge, who will consider your case. This judge did not have any connection to your original case or have anything to do with your reconsideration application or denial and will have had no prior knowledge of your claim before the hearing. At the hearing, you will be able to have witnesses who can help support your case. These may include coworkers, doctors, or anyone else who might be able to vouch for you.
- When making the decision, the administrative law judge will consider the following about you (the claimant):
- Are you currently working?
- Do you have a severe impairment? (Meaning it has to severely affect your ability to do any basic tasks)
- Do these impairments meet the Social Security listing standard? (Social Security has a standard of impairments that they rank in order of severity)
- Can you go back to work?
- Is there any other work you can still do?
You can be considered disabled and therefore granted benefits at any point in this question process.
Step 3: Appeal the Decision
If you are denied at your hearing by the Administrative Law Judge, you can appeal his or her decision. The appeals council, at this point, can deny your appeal if they find that they agree with the judge’s decision. At this point, only 3% of appeals are reversed.
Step 4: File a Lawsuit
If you are denied by the appeals council and if you believe that there has been a legal mistake made in the decision process, you can file a lawsuit challenging the decision. This lawsuit will be filed to your federal district court. The court will then either reverse the case or send it to another administrative law judge to review. Keep in mind that 70% of people are denied disability at this point in the appeals process.
The Social Security Disability Insurance Program claims process can be difficult to navigate, especially if your application has been denied. At Summit Disability Law Group, we want to do everything in our power to make things easier for you. If we take your case, we will help you navigate through the claims process and paperwork, and help you avoid legal red tape that may cause you to be permanently denied benefits. As you have already learned from the above list, you have plenty of opportunities to state your case and to get the benefits that you deserve. If you have additional questions about what to do if your claim has been denied, call us today at (801) 890-1030.
The above list was prepared by Schneider Kerr & Gibney
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia