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Social Security Disability Denied?

May 10, 2013

What do you do if you Social Security Disability Application is Denied?

If you are no longer able to work, but meet the basic eligibility requirements for social security disability, what do you do if your request is denied?

1. Don’t panic. A large number of requests for social security disability are denied at the first step. This is what we call the paper step, where you submit a paper application supported by evidence from medical experts.

Receiving that denial letter is very upsetting, especially if you find yourself in dire financial straits, but as of 2009, over 65% of initial social security disability applications are denied.  The next step is simply to file an appeal. You have the right to an appeal as a matter of course.

2. File for reconsideration. If you are denied, the next step is to file for reconsideration. The appeal must be filed within 60 days.  You will need to fill out more paper work. I know, it seems as if you couldn’t possibly have more paperwork to provide, but SSDI is all about paperwork. And how that paperwork is filled out is extremely important.

3. Update everything. One major aspect of your reconsideration will be to update how you are doing. Whether you condition has worsened, if you have more medical evidence, and so on.

4. Attend a hearing. You will receive a hearing date before a social security judge. That judge will review the evidence, ask you questions, and possibly listen to the testimony of a vocational expert. That expert will discuss your ability to work, or have what we call substantial gainful activity.

5. Wait for the result.  After your hearing you will receive a result.  Hopefully, at that point, if you are qualified, you will receive your benefits.

The social security disability system is slow. Many people give up if they are denied at the first step, and that is unfortunate.  The reality is many more people are approved at the secondary level. So be patient and work through the system appropriately. Hopefully your success will be greater during the appeals process.

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