Unfortunately, many people with disabilities find that obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is a difficult and frustrating process. Despite their best efforts and strong cases, many applicants receive denial letters. The good news is that receiving a denial letter is not the end of the road. There are steps you can take to appeal the decision and potentially receive the benefits you need. In this article, we will explore the reasons why someone might be denied disability benefits, the steps to take after a denial, and how an experienced Social Security attorney can help.
Reasons for Disability Claim Denial
There are many reasons why the Social Security Administration (SSA) might deny a disability claim. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Lack of Medical Evidence: One of the most critical factors in determining eligibility for disability benefits is medical evidence. If your medical records do not show that your condition meets the criteria for disability, your claim may be denied.
- Failure to Follow Treatment: The SSA expects claimants to follow the treatment recommended by their healthcare providers. If you do not follow treatment your claim may be denied.
- Incomplete or Inaccurate Information: It is important to provide complete and accurate information on your application. If you fail to provide all necessary information or provide inaccurate information, your claim may be denied.
- Income or Resources: SSDI benefits are available to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. If you are earning too much income you may not be eligible for benefits.
- Your Condition is Not Severe Enough: The SSA has strict criteria for determining whether a condition is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. If your condition does not meet these criteria, your claim may be denied.
- The disability won’t last 12 months; or
- The person can do some type of work even if it is not their regular work.
Steps to Take After a Disability Claim Denial
If you receive a denial letter from the SSA, there are four steps you can take:
- Request a Reconsideration: The first step in the appeals process is to request a reconsideration. This involves submitting additional evidence and having your case reviewed by a different claims examiner. It is important to submit as much new evidence as possible to support your claim.
- Request a Hearing: If your claim is denied again at the reconsideration level, you can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. During the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence and argue your case.
- Request a Review by the Appeals Council: If the administrative law judge denies your claim, you can request a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review the Administrative Law Judge’s decision to determine whether it was made in accordance with the law and regulations.
- File a Lawsuit: If your claim is denied at the Appeals Council level, you can file a lawsuit in federal court.
How an Experienced Social Security Attorney Can Help
Navigating the SSDI appeals process can be complex and confusing. An experienced Social Security attorney can help guide you through the process and increase your chances of success. Here are some of the ways an attorney can help:
- Gather and Organize Evidence: An attorney can help you gather and organize medical records, employment records, and other evidence to support your claim.
- Prepare You for Hearings: An attorney can prepare you for hearings and help you present your case effectively.
- Represent You at Hearings: An attorney can represent you at hearings and argue your case on your behalf.
- File Appeals on Your Behalf: An attorney can file appeals and handle all paperwork and communication with the SSA and other entities.
- Fight for Your Rights: An attorney can fight for your rights and ensure that the SSA follows all relevant laws and regulations.
- Analyzing your case under Social Security Regulations.
- Contacting your doctor and explaining Social Security Regulations to obtain a report consistent with the regulations
- Reviewing actions taken by SSA.
- Asking that a prior application for benefits be reopened to obtain more retroactive benefits for you.
- Seeking waiver of a time limit.
- Cross-examining adverse witnesses at your hearing.
- If you win, making sure that SSA is paying you the appropriate amount of benefits.
- If necessary, representing you in a federal court review of your case.
It is important to choose an attorney who specializes in Social Security disability law and has experience handling appeals. A good Social Security attorney will provide you with the support you need to navigate the appeals process, including helping you gather evidence, representing you at hearings, and filing appeals on your behalf.
Appealing a denial can be a long and challenging process, but it is important to remember that you have options. With the help of an experienced Social Security attorney, you can increase your chances of success and receive the benefits you need to support yourself and your family.
It is also important to note that there are other forms of assistance available for individuals with disabilities who are unable to work. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program that provides financial assistance to low-income individuals who are blind, disabled, or elderly. Other programs, such as Medicaid, may also be available to help you access the care and support you need.
Call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law
With his help, you can successfully overturn a denial of benefits and receive the funding that you need. Call (541) 434-6466 today for a free consultation.