If your application for Social Security disability benefits was recently denied, you have the right to appeal, but unless you’ve been through the process before, it’s hard to know what to do next. This blog contains an overview of 5 tips that can increase your chances of a successful appeal and get you the benefits you need and deserve.
Tip #1: Review the Denial Letter
The denial letter will tell you why your claim was denied as well as provide instructions for filing an appeal. Did you not provide enough medical evidence to prove that your condition prevents you from working? Did you not show that you were following your doctor’s treatment plan? Did you forget to send any requested documents to the SSA? Understanding what went wrong is essential to appealing.
Tip #2: File the Appeal on Time
In general, you have 60 days after the notice of denial to request an appeal. The letter will provide you with the appropriate deadline for your case, so bear that in mind when you’re speaking with your doctor(s) and collecting supporting evidence.
Tip #3: Submit an RFC Form
RFC stands for “Residual Functional Capacity.” It refers to the maximum degree of functionality that your condition supports. Your doctor can complete a form that helps the SSA understand how your current limitations prevent you from working. Ask them to be as thorough as possible when completing the form, as the more medical evidence you have to present, the better.
Tip #4: Add More Medical Evidence
Lack of sufficient medical evidence is one of the most common reasons why disability claims are denied. If any medical records were missing or incomplete, collect all necessary information and get written opinions from your doctors. You might also want to consider further testing, which will provide additional medical evidence, and even add nonmedical evidence like letters from friends and former coworkers who have personal knowledge of how your impairment has impacted your ability to work.
Tip #5: Work with a Lawyer
Appealing a denial is not easy, but a Social Security Disability attorney can guide you through all the required steps and prepare your appeal paperwork so that you stand the best chance of being approved the second time around. They will assume responsibility for the following:
● Completing all required forms
● Collecting and submitting medical records that provide a thorough overview of your disability and treatment plan
● Preparing you for the hearing
● Representing you during all in-person appearances before SSD personnel
There are four levels to the appeal process. First you request reconsideration of your case. If that results in a denial, you may escalate to a hearing before an administrative law judge. The last two stages are a review by the Appeals Council and a Federal Court review. These are all legally complex options that are best navigated with help from an SSD appeals attorney.
Talk to an Attorney Today
Most SSD applicants are denied the first time they apply, forcing them to appeal for the benefits they need. Working with a lawyer may increase the likelihood of having your application approved the second time around but if your reconsideration request still meets with a denial, your attorney will help you present the best possible arguments at each level of the appeals process. To contact an attorney and get your appeal started, complete the Free Case Evaluation form.