Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What Can You Do When Your Social Security Disability Claim Is Rejected?

65 percent of all applicants are denied the first time applying for Social Security Disability Insurance. This outcome, however, isn't a final testament to the filer's condition; rather, because of strict rules, the Social Security Administration may simply require more information to prove the filer's condition and inability to work.

With all claims, the SSA looks for the following: the filer cannot do the tasks he or she previously did; he or she cannot do another form of work as a result of the condition; and the condition is expected to last at least a year. Along with these factors, the filer's 2013 earnings cannot exceed $1,040 per month, and the condition falls within a list of severe medical diagnoses.

Appealing, however, is more likely to give the desired result and benefits than not appealing at all, which a surprising number of filers do; sending in an application too late; or deciding to start the application process all over again. Yet, if you decide to appeal, in which nearly half of all claims are favorably reversed, what should you do?

1. Find out why the claim was denied. In many cases, the SSA just may require more evidence.

2. Know which forms to fill out. Anyone filing an appeal must complete a Request for Reconsideration and a Disability Report - Appeal, both of which must be completed and mailed within 60 days of the initial denial notice. With these forms, state why you were unfairly denied and attach more materials to support your case.

3. Before you send in your forms, consult a social security disability lawyer. Studies show that getting a lawyer involved in the SSDI appeal increases the filer's chances of claiming past due benefits by 600 percent. Social security disability lawyers cannot charge an upfront fee, but once a case is won, he or she receives payment of up to 25 percent of all back pay. Lawyers, in assessing a SSDI case, examine each client for the following: Does he or she currently engage in an activity; does he or she have a severe impairment that meets or is equivalent to one of the SSA's listed impairments; and can he or she perform past job duties or any other work responsibilities?

4. Gather evidence. A letter from a doctor is not sufficient to win an appeals case. As the SSA could have initially denied a claim for this reason, the lawyer may request clinical notes, diagnostic tests, and laboratory evidence.

Understand, too, that Social Security Disability has four levels of appeals: Request for Reconsideration, an Administrative Law Judge Hearing, Social Security Appeals Council, and filing a lawsuit in a U.S. district court.

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