If you have received a denied claim letter from the SSA after applying for disability benefits because of your spondylolisthesis, you shouldn’t give up as you are entitled to appeal the decision.
There is an established series of steps in the SSA’s appeal process and if you persist, you may find that at any of these steps your application will be finally accepted. It can help to get legal and other advice from a disability attorney, especially as the attorney can represent you if you need to attend a hearing or request a review with the Appeals Council.
Filing an Appeal for Disability Benefits With Spondylolisthesis
You need to respond reasonably quickly if you have received a letter advising you of a denied application. The SSA gives you 60 days to request a reconsideration after receipt of the letter. The SSA will then organize someone who wasn’t involved in your original assessment to review your original claim. If this fails, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is when a disability attorney can help prepare you for the hearing. The ALJ will examine the application and may ask you questions about your spondylolisthesis. Medical experts may also attend the hearing.
If the hearing does not result in your application being accepted, you can still pursue the appeal by requesting a review by the Appeals Council and the last step in the process may involve filing a claim with the federal district court.
How to File a Successful Appeal for Disability Benefits With Spondylolisthesis
If you fail to respond to notification of a denied application in timely fashion, you may not be able to continue with an appeal, so it is important to keep to time limits.
It is quite common for initial applications to be rejected because of insufficient evidence of spondylolisthesis symptoms, or your inability to keep working for at least the next 12 months. Both of these reasons can be addressed during the appeal process. For example, you can obtain more convincing medical evidence to support your application. Include your medical history, evidence showing how the symptoms developed, how and when you were diagnosed, what medical treatment you have obtained and that you are keeping up with medical treatment and tests where appropriate.
You can also ask your doctor to perform a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. This is a series of tests which assess your physical and in some cases your mental abilities. For example, the RFC may document your ability to stand, lift and carry weights. This helps to determine whether the doctor thinks you are able to continue working.
Why Was My Spondylolisthesis Claim Denied?
The three most common reasons why your claim for benefits was denied include:
- insufficient medical evidence to show that your symptoms match the SSA’s exacting criteria for spondylolisthesis;
- failure to demonstrate that you cannot keep working for at least the next 12 months;
- not enough work credits to qualify you for SSDI.
Get Help With Your Appeal
You are entitled to go through the appeal process if you receive a denied benefits decision. There are several steps involved and you may be able to convince the SSA of your eligibility at any of these steps if you provide better evidence of your condition or your inability to work. A disability attorney can provide valuable legal advice at any stage of the appeal process.
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