One of the benefits you receive from the taxes deducted every time you receive your paycheck is your Social Security benefits. Among the most important aids you can receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or simply the disability insurance. For millions of Americans suffering from disability, filing for disability insurance is a valuable means of getting by. However, disability benefits are awarded based on the degree of need. This means that some claims will be denied upon your initial application.
The good thing is that the initial denial isn’t final – there are still ways for you to fight for a claim to valuable benefit.
Request for reconsideration
When your SSDI application gets denied by the SSA, the agency sends you a document explaining the reasons for the denial of your application. If you disagree with the decision, the first thing you do is request for a reconsideration. This is basically re-submitting the same paperwork for another SSA representative to reconsider. This appeal must be filed within 60 days after you receive the document of the official decision. This process includes the right representation, so you can have an attorney or disability advocate assists with the appeal if you desire.
Request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
If your request for reconsideration still gets denied, you have 60 days to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ will review your case and request your testimony or of any attending witness or medical experts. The judge will then make an independent decision based on the presented evidence and testimonies, which can either uphold the SSA’s initial decision or overturn it and grant you the disability insurance and benefits.
Submit updates on your medical condition
If you experience any changes in your medical condition in the event of your application for SSDI or appealing a decision, you are required to inform the SSA. This may be additional paperwork and quite cumbersome, but it can actually help with your request for an appeal. New medical evidence can help back up your claim and improve your odds of receiving a favorable decision because it gives the evaluator reasons to decide in your favor. You can submit your medical evidence as an independent submission or as supporting documents when you file a request for reconsideration. To reinforce your claim for financial support due to disability, you need to also get doctors’ testimonials. Their evaluations are taken into high consideration by SSA when assessing your case, so you should also get one. You can have your doctor(s) fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form if it hasn’t been submitted, or submit a revised RFC form documenting new or worsening medical issues.
File for an appeals council review
If by some unfortunate circumstance, your ALJ hearing did not go well and the ALJ decision did not go in your favor, you can appeal it within 60 from the date the decision was received or 65 days from the date of denial. The Appeals Council consists of administrative law judges who were not previously involved in your case. As the third and the last administration divisional level, the Appeals Council will not consider any new evidence, but will make sure to review the previous administrative law proceedings and the ALJ followed correct procedures and laws in rendering the decision. There can be three possible outcomes of the review: the Appeals Council may concur with the findings of the ALJ and deny your request, they may overturn the previous decision and award you SSD benefits or they may send your case back to the ALJ for reconsideration.
Seek legal assistance
While filing an appeal for a denied SSD claim may seem like a simple process, it is wise to seek the counsel of a disability attorney for your options. To make sure that your concern is handled properly, you can look for a denied SSD claims lawyer who will guide you with the entire appeals process. They are also well-versed with the technical and legal aspects of the proceeding, which can work to your advantage.
Disability can be very valuable in helping you make ends meet in case you suffer from long-term or permanent disability that prevents you from being able to work. Depending on the initial assessment of the SSA, there is a highly likely chance that your claim for SSD will be denied at first, but do not lose hope. There are always steps you can take to appeal the decision and fight for the financial assistance that you deserve. Since appeals include a right to representation, it is a wise course of action to seek legal assistance to strengthen your case and have a better chance of having your SSD appeal considered and have your disability benefits granted.