After you get a letter in the mail from the Social Security Administration denying your initial application, you may feel discouraged and give up trying to get disability benefits. Before you give up, there are a few things you need to know.
Most initial disability applications are denied.
Over 70% of initial Social Security Disability applications are denied. This doesn’t mean that 70% of disability applicants don’t deserve benefits. Unless you have a very clear-cut case, Social Security will likely deny your claim.
One reason your application may have been denied is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) didn’t have enough information to award you benefits.
This can happen from a lack of medical records. On the initial application, you are asked to provide a list of medical providers and their contact information so the SSA can track down your medical records. If you don’t give detailed information about these providers, then the SSA can’t get a complete picture of how your disability affects you.
One thing that’s important for the SSA to see is that you’re actively getting treatment for your health conditions. If you’re not actively treating your disability, then the SSA may believe your disability isn’t as bad as it actually is. They may deny your claim because you are not seeing a doctor on a regular basis.
There is a disability appeals process for a reason.
As stated before, the majority of disability applications are denied at first. This is not unusual, which is why you have the right to appeal that decision. Appealing is the process used to have someone new review your disability claim and issue a new decision. There are several levels of appeal.
If your initial application is denied, you can request a reconsideration. The SSA will take another look at your file and issue a decision. The majority of appeals at this stage are denied as well.
The next level of appeal is a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. You will testify in front of a judge about your limitations and how they affect your life. The majority of Social Security cases will require a hearing, and this step in the appeals process is where you’re most likely to win your claim.
If you are denied at the hearing level, the next level of appeal is to the appeals council. An appeals judge will review the evidence in your case and see if the hearing judge made errors in their ruling. A majority of cases are denied in this level of appeal.
The final step of appeal is to request a Federal Court review of your claim. This involves filing a lawsuit against the SSA in Federal Court. If you are denied at this level of appeal, your case is most likely over.
There are multiple levels of appeal so that you have the best chance of convincing the SSA you are disabled. Don’t give up because your initial application is denied.
You paid for years into the Social Security Disability program.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are like an insurance policy. If you have worked, you have paid into the system in the form of taxes. Then, if you become disabled in the future, you are able to collect money from the Social Security Disability Program – similar to how you would collect money from an insurance policy after a car accident.
These benefits are not a loan, and they’re not a handout – they’re benefits you have earned after paying into the system for years.
Improving Your Chances to Win Disability Benefits
There are a few ways you can improve the success of getting disability benefits.
- Make sure your work history shows that you have enough work credits to receive SSDI benefits. The law says to receive SSDI benefits, you need to have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify. You can review your Social Security statement to see if you meet these requirements. Contact the SSA through phone or online to get a copy of your statement.
- Treat your medical conditions. It’s important you’re seeing a medical professional on a regular basis for your disabilities. Up-to-date medical records are important evidence for the SSA to properly assess your claim.
- Cooperate with the SSA. Social Security may request that you see one of their doctors. This is called a consultative exam. It’s important you attend this consultative exam and do anything else the SSA asks. Failure to cooperate with the SSA may mean your benefits are denied.
- Consider hiring an attorney to help you get disability benefits. An experienced Iowa Social Security Disability attorney can help track down medical records and doctors’ opinions on your disability. They can also file paperwork on your behalf throughout the appeals process.
If you have been denied disability benefits, don’t give up. We may be able to help you get the benefits you deserve. Contact RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.