Did you know that approximately 65 percent of all initial disability applicants are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA)?
There are several reasons as to why the SSA denies initial disability claims. Some of the most common reasons include the (1) claim having insufficient medical evidence, (2) applicant failing to accumulate 40 work credits throughout a career, and (3) claim revealing that the applicant has not participated in the American workforce for 12 consecutive months.
If you have found yourself in this unfortunate situation of being one of many disability applicants whose claim was denied by the SSA, the all-too common question you may be asking yourself is: should I reapply for financial assistance? The answer is no. Instead of reapplying for financial assistance, you should file an appeal that seeks financial assistance for your disability. Now, let us tell you why…
Why Shouldn’t I Apply for Disability After Being Denied?
If the SSA has denied your disability claim, reapplying for financial assistance means that you will be starting the entire claim process over again. Typically, restarting this process means that you could be waiting months to hear back about a decision for your claim. And, if your claim was already denied by the SSA once, there is a high likelihood that it will once again be denied if you were to choose the route of reapplication over appealing.
Generally speaking, your chances of getting an appeal approved for Social Security disability benefits are higher than if you reapply by starting from scratch. Thus, instead of reapplying for Social Security disability benefits, you should consider filing a request for reconsideration, which is the first step in filing an appeal that initiates the appeals process.
How Does the Appeals Process Work?
So let’s talk about how the appeals process works. The appeals process for disability benefits has four steps.
The first step in this process is a request for reconsideration. When filing a request for reconsideration, it is important to stress the value of working with a disability attorney because they can help you gather and organize additional persuasive evidence that could strengthen your appeal. Although the SSA received medical evidence from you with your original claim, it is usually in the applicant’s best interest to include more evidence in their subsequent attempt to receive disability benefits.
During the request for reconsideration, a medical examiner from the SSA—who did not participate in the first review of your claim—takes a second look at your application. It is helpful to note that none of the medical examiners that were involved with your original claim are allowed to recommend either the denial or approval of your appeal for reconsideration.
The SSA approves nearly 15 percent of all requests for reconsideration.
The second step of the appeals process involves you presenting your case to an administrative law judge (ALJ). Your participation in this second step is necessary if your request for reconsideration is denied by the SSA.
It is crucial to highlight the fairly short time limit on this second step. Once you have become aware that the SSA has denied your request for reconsideration, you have 60 days to take this next (i.e., second) step in the appeal process. This step (i.e., presenting your case in front of an ALJ) is the only step in this process during which you are required to present your case in a public setting.
Because ALJs approve a little more than 50 percent of appeals, this step in the appeal process is considered to be the step that gives you the best chance of receiving approval of your disability claim.
However, if an ALJ refuses to act on your appeal, you would then move on to the third and fourth steps in the appeal process. Step three involves you presenting your case in front of an appeals council, and step four consists of a federal court review.
What Do I Need When I File An Appeal?
When you file an appeal, undergoing a Residual Functional Capacity (TFC) assessment can help your claim. This is because an RFC measures your ability to complete certain mental and/or physical functions. Thus, you may want to consider submitting more convincing medical evidence with your appeal. This additional evidence could include a prognosis that is issued by your healthcare provider and estimates the likelihood of you making a full and/or partial recovery.
Ultimately, it is important to note that if you did not work with a Social Security disability attorney when filing your initial claim, you should consider hiring one to represent you during the appeal process so you can have the best chance at getting the support you may need and deserve.
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