Your SSI or SSDI Claim is Denied, Now What?
Filing for SSDI or SSI can be a daunting process that takes months, possibly years to complete. There could be nothing more frustrating than if your SSI or SSDI claim is denied. So, is a denial the end of the line? What should you do if your SSDI or SSI claim is denied? Disability Support Services can help.
Figure Out What Went Wrong
The first step is to review all of your medical evidence and claim paperwork. While filing a claim is an arduous process requiring an acute attention to detail, there is always a chance something slipped through the cracks or was overlooked by SSA.
Unfortunately, almost all claims are denied at the initial level. Our advice is that most people should appeal when denied at the Initial level or Reconsideration level of the application process. We are amazed by how many disability claimants just give up after an initial denial. It is also important to file your appeal within the SSA time limit (60 days from the date on the denial letter). If you fail to appeal promptly you may lose cash benefits.
Request for Reconsideration
The first step in the appeal process is called the reconsideration. Here you will file a statement of disagreement with the denial, and submit any new evidence that you may have acquired. Your case will be reviewed by a new examiner, who was not involved with the first filing. In addition, you should never assume that the SSA staff is familiar with your case. Consequently, if everything is submitted correctly and the new examiner reviews your case accurately, that your claim will be approved at this level.
Social Security Disability Hearings
If denied a second time, you can appeal again requesting a hearing with an Administrative Law judge (ALJ). However, we encourage you not to get discouraged at this stage as it may take over a year for your hearing to be held. Hearings are usually in person, but in some cases, video conference may be held with the ALJ in a different location. By having a representative, the attorney will present your case to the ALJ. This takes the pressure off of you having to present to the ALJ.
Denied After Hearing
There are more levels of appeal that may be taken if necessary. Therefore, if a case is not successful at the hearing, the case may be sent for a Social Security Appeals Council Review. Further, if the review does not result in an approval, the case may move into the Federal Court system for further appeals.
While this all seems discouraging, we urge you to be patient. A significant number of people repeatedly get denied. If your claim is valid, it is worth the time and effort to go through the appeals process. Especially because SSA will retroactively pay benefits back to the date of the initial application if your case allows for it, which could result in a significant award.
Wondering what should you do if your SSI or SSDI claim is denied? Not sure where to go from here? Disability Support Services can help take care of the entire appeal process for you. Call us today! We will review your case to see if we can get started on your appeal.