If you have applied for disability benefits, the chances are that your original application was denied. This doesn’t stop you getting disability benefits, but you do need to start the appeal process with the SSA.
Many more disability benefits are approved at some stage of the appeal process, which is a series of steps.
The first step once you have received a denied benefits notification is to request a reconsideration of the decision.
This is when SSA officials look at the information you submitted with the original application again to see whether the decision they made at the time was justified in their opinion. Reconsideration is only the first step in the appeals process.
How Many Claims Are Approved at the Reconsideration State?
The percentage of disability benefits claims approved at reconsideration has dropped over recent years. It is now sitting at a low of 13% approval rate from an average of around 35% previously.
If a disability benefits application is denied again at reconsideration, then it is likely that the same reasons why it was rejected after the original application still hold and the SSA’s original decision has not changed.
There are usually several common reasons why a benefits application is still rejected at reconsideration. These include:
- The request for reconsideration was made too late;
- The severity of the symptoms of the disability did not match the criteria for disability benefits approval;
- The medical evidence supporting the application was insufficient to convince the SSA to approve a benefit;
- The symptoms did not match any listing in the SSA’s Blue Book;
- The evidence of the disability symptoms did not show that the applicant was unable to work for at least the next 12 months;
- The applicant had insufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI or had too much assets or income to qualify for SSI.
How Do I Increase the Chances of Getting Approved?
It is worth hiring a disability lawyer if your application for disability benefits is rejected as the next stages of the appeal process can be challenging.
The SSA will list the reason(s) for not approving the original application so these reasons should be addressed where possible before requesting reconsideration of the application. These include:
- Make sure you keep to the required time limits at each stage of the appeal.
- Check that your disability symptoms match criteria in the Blue Book and that you have sufficient medical evidence to show that the symptoms mean you cannot work for at least 12 months.
- Ask your medical provider to carry out a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment which is a series of tests which demonstrate what you can and cannot do.
Get Help From a Disability Lawyer
It is common for disability benefits applications to be rejected initially and even when reconsideration is requested, the approval rate is now as low as 15%.
There are often clear reasons why an application is rejected by the SSA, so addressing these reasons during the appeal process can reverse the original denial is important.
Working with a disability lawyer after a denied benefits application can help you through the appeal process.