This year alone, the Social Security Administration will receive millions of claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Of the millions of applications received each year, approximately 70 percent are denied during the initial stage of the claim process.
In order to obtain the benefits that these applicants are entitled to, they must spend months or even years enduring the lengthy and complicated Social Security Disability appeals process.
The good news is that nearly two-thirds of appeals are won at a hearing stage of the appeal process when the applicant appears before an >Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The question is, how do you begin the appeals process if your claim for Social Security Disability benefits has been denied? The following information will help.
Receiving Your Notice of Determination
Many people submit their Social Security Disability applications assuming that their benefits will be approved in a matter of months. The majority of these applicants are disappointed when the letter of determination arrives from the Social Security Administration, denying their claim for the benefits they so desperately need.
What is the next step of the claim process? The next step is to appeal the decision that has been made by the Social Security Administration to deny your disability benefits.
Filing the Appeal
You have 60 days from the date you receive the notice from the Social Security Administration informing you that your Social Security Disability claim has been denied to file the appropriate appeal. You will need to appeal the decision with the Social Security Administration within that time frame if you hope to overturn the SSA's decision to deny your disability benefits.
The first step of the appeal process is called a Request for Reconsideration. To file this request, you will need to request form SSA-561-U2 from the Social Security Administration.
You can obtain this form from your local Social Security office or you can download it directly from the Social Security website.
When filing your Request for Reconsideration, send the form in to the Social Security Administration via certified or registered mail to show proof that the appeal was filed within the allocated time frame.
When submitting this request, you should also submit any updated medical records that will support your Social Security Disability claim. These records will be reviewed and considered when the SSA is processing your reconsideration request.
Unfortunately, the majority of reconsideration requests are denied by the Social Security Administration. In fact, more than 80 percent of appeals are denied at this stage of the process. The next stage of appeals is the disability hearing.
It is in your best interest to have an attorney representing you during the hearing stage of the appeal process.
Working with a Lawyer
If your claim for Social Security Disability benefits has been denied, you may want to contact a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate prior to filing your Request for Reconsideration.
Statistics show that applicants who have proper legal representation are more likely to be awarded Social Security Disability benefits than those who do not.
While you do not need a lawyer to file a Request for Reconsideration and you are technically allowed to represent yourself at your Social Security Disability hearing, it may not be in your best interest to do so.
If you do decide to retain representation for your Social Security Disability appeal, your advocate or attorney will be able to file the appropriate appeal forms for you and will gather any medical evidence necessary to support your Social Security Disability case.
Just bear in mind that the appeal process can take some time to complete. Because of this, you should contact an advocate or attorney as soon as possible and plan financially for the months ahead.