The vast majority of Social Security Disability applicants are initially denied benefits. In fact, claimants have less than a 35% chance of approval during the early stages of the process. Individuals who have been denied benefits do not have to give up hope of obtaining the financial assistance that they so desperately need. Claimants have the option of filing an appeal with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What Do I Need to Do to File an Appeal?
If you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and it is determined that you are not eligible for disability benefits, you will receive a notice from the SSA. Your notice will inform you as to the reason for the denial, whether or not your state participates in the reconsideration process, and the deadline and requirements for filing an appeals request.
The first step of the appeals process is to contact the SSA and alert them of your intention to appeal. You will then be required to complete Form SSA-3441 entitled, “Disability Report – Appeal.” This report is used to inform the Social Security Administration of any updates or changes to your contact information, health care providers, and health status since your initial application. It also seeks to find out if you have worked, or if you have sought further education or vocational rehabilitation training, since the initial filing of your claim.
What Do I Need to Know About Filling Out Form SSA-3441?
Form SSA-3441 can be completed on paper or, more conveniently, online. When filling out the form, be sure to answer every single question. If an item does not apply to you, be certain to write “Not-applicable” or “N/A” to indicate that you did not inadvertently miss an essential question. Leaving fields blank could potentially delay your appeal.
When completing the form, you may feel as though some questions are repetitive information that you have provided to the SSA in the past. It is critical that you answer all of the questions regardless. You can utilize forms that you have filled out in the past to help you as you fill out SSA-3441.
If you have additional medical records that you have gathered since your last review, you should include them with your completed appeals form. If filling out Form SSA-3441 online, you can mail the medical records or bring them into your local Social Security office.
Perhaps the most important aspect of completing the SSA-3441 form is to make sure you complete and submit the form before the deadline provided by the SSA. Missing the appeals deadline could result in a closure of your claim. Once Form SSA-3441 is completed in its entirety, the SSA will look to schedule your appeals hearing.
Can a Disability Attorney Help Me with The Disability Report Appeals Form?
The SSDI appeals process is complicated and challenging to navigate even for those savvy and in good health. If you have been denied Social Security Disability Benefits and need to appeal, you should consider working with an experienced Social Security Attorney or Disability Advocate.
A Social Security Attorney is experienced with the appeals process and can assist you with completing Form SSA-3441, as well as the numerous other forms required during the application and appeals process for SSDI benefits. Further, when it comes time for your appeals hearing, a lawyer can help prepare you for your meeting with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In fact, if need be, your attorney can represent you in court on your behalf.