For the millions of Americans suffering from disabilities, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an invaluable resource. Unfortunately, disability benefits are awarded based on degree of need, which means some cases are denied.
However, this initial rejection is far from final — disability benefits are incredibly beneficial, so it is important that you do everything in your power to fight for the help you deserve. Here are listed the top 5 courses of action to take if you are denied Social Security:
#5: File for Reconsideration
When the SSA denies an application for Social Security, they send a document explaining the reasons why they denied your application. If you disagree with their decision, you have a right to file for reconsideration and have the SSA review your entire case again.
This appeal must typically take place within 60 days of receiving your official decision, unless you can justify a reason it took you longer.
Reconsideration also includes a right to representation, so you may have a disability advocate or attorney assist with the appeal if desired.
#4: Schedule a Hearing with an ALJ
If your case is reconsidered and once again denied, you may appeal again by asking for a hearing. Hearings are conducted by administrative law judges (ALJs) and take place locally. During a hearing, the judge will review your case and question you and any attending witnesses or medical experts.
Afterwards, the judge will make a decision to either uphold the SSA’s decision or to overturn it and grant you disability benefits.
Like reconsideration, this also includes a right to representation. Especially during hearings, it is wise to have a disability attorney present to assist you with your case.
#3: Submit New Medical Evidence
If you experience any changes in your medical condition while applying for SSDI or appealing a decision, you are required to inform the SSA. While the added paperwork may be taxing, this can actually be very beneficial when requesting an appeal.
New medical evidence may help you receive a new decision on your case because it gives the evaluator more reasons to award you benefits.
This evidence can either be submitted on its own or along with your request for reconsideration.
#2: Get Doctors’ Testimonials
The SSA takes doctors’ evaluations into heavy consideration when assessing a case. If your application was initially denied, it can never hurt to provide more evidence that your disability qualifies for benefits.
To do this, you can have your current doctor(s) fill out a residual functional capacity form (RFC) if they haven’t already, or submit a revised RFC form documenting new or worsening medical issues.
They can also provide official documentation/descriptions of your medical condition to reinforce why they believe your condition is severe enough to require financial support.
#1: Speak with an Attorney
Regardless of how you go about appealing your decision, it is always wise to contact a disability attorney about your options. Not only are they well-versed in the entire appeals process, but they are required to help for free unless you win your appeal.
This ensures that your attorney does everything in their power to help with your case, and also provides peace of mind when dealing with further financial and legal responsibilities.
One of the main reasons why clients hold off on hiring a Social Security Disability attorney is the cost. Attorneys are expensive, and no one wants to pay for legal fees if at all possible. Odds are, if the individual is looking to receive disability benefits, that person does not have a lot of money on hand.
However, hiring an attorney to handle a social security appeal is affordable. Attorneys are paid on a contingent fee basis meaning they only receive payment if the client’s case is successful.
Contacting a Social Security Attorney
If you are interested in appealing your Social Security decision, a disability attorney is an irreplaceable help. To give yourself the best chance at receiving the assistance you deserve, get started by speaking with a disability attorney today.