What Are My Options If My Claim Is Denied?
Social Security disability benefits provide a critical and reliable source of financial support to those with a qualifying disability that limits their ability to work. Often, the Social Security Administration denies claims for benefits. However, if you apply for Social Security disability benefits, also known as SSDI, and your claim is denied, you do not have to accept the SSA’s decision.
At Rushing Law Firm, PLLC, our social security disability attorney can assist you in appealing a social security denial. We will fight for the benefits to which you are entitled. If your claim was denied, you need to understand your options and what to do next. We help disabled individuals navigate the Social Security system in El Dorado, Arkansas, and other parts of the state, including Columbia County, Ashley County, Union County, and Ouachita County.
Common Reasons for Social Security Disability Denials
Before we discuss your options for appealing a denied Social Security disability claim, it is important to understand why your application was denied. While each case is unique, a large percentage of SSDI claims are denied for one of the following five reasons:
The application is incomplete. The SSA is very meticulous and careful when it comes to processing and approving SSDI claims. That is why the federal agency is very strict about its requirements for filling out applications for benefits. If your application is not complete, you left out certain information, or forgot to put your signature at the bottom, your application is likely to be denied.
The applicant did not work long enough to qualify for benefits. Disabled individuals must earn a specific number of work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. Thus, if you did not work long enough, you might not have accumulated the necessary number of credits to qualify for benefits. As a result, your claim may be denied.
The applicant is not “disabled” according to the SSA. You, your treating doctor, and the SSA may not have different opinions about what “being disabled” means. According to the SSA’s website, the agency considers an applicant to have a disability if they (1) cannot perform work or engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medical condition, (2) cannot do the job they did previously or adjust to other types of work because of the condition, and (3) their condition has lasted (expected to last) for at least a year or expected to lead to death.
The lack of medical evidence to prove the claim. A common reason for a Social Security disability denial is the lack of medical evidence that proves the applicant’s disability. It is important to see your treating doctor regularly and gather as much medical evidence as you possibly can. In addition, it is critical to follow your doctor’s orders.
The lack of communication between the applicant and the SSA. The SSA may reach out to the applicant to ask certain questions about their application, especially if something is not clear. In addition, the agency may ask applicants to attend a consultative exam performed by a medical professional of the SSA’s choosing. The lack of communication between the applicant and the SSA or the applicant’s inability or refusal to cooperate may be grounds for a claim denial.
If you do not understand why your SSDI claim was denied, you must contact a knowledgeable attorney to review your particular situation and help you determine why your claim has been denied and what you can do about it to get the benefits you deserve.
Your Right to Appeal a Denied Claim
The SSA recognizes the applicant’s right to appeal a denied claim. Thus, if your application for SSDI benefits was denied and you disagree with the SSA’s decision, you can initiate the appeals process.
While you have a right to appeal a denied claim, it is critical to act quickly. There is a limited time in which you may appeal the SSA’s decision. Generally, the agency gives applicants 60 days to file an appeal. The clock starts running on the date the applicant receives the notice of the denial.
The Appeals Process
When your claim for Social Security disability benefits is denied, you can initiate the appeals process by submitting a Request for Reconsideration (Form SSA-561) to the SSA. The form must be submitted no later than 60 days from the date of receiving the SSA’s notice of the denial if you want the agency to process your request.
If the SSA does not provide the benefits you deserve after receiving your Request for Reconsideration, you can proceed to the next stage: asking for a hearing before an administrative law judge. At the hearing, you will have a chance to explain certain facts and present evidence to convince the judge to overturn the denied claim.
If you disagree with the judge’s decision regarding your SSDI claim, you can request to have the Appeals Council review your case. If you are not satisfied with the Appeals Council’s decision, you can file a civil action in a federal court.
Before beginning the appeals process, speak with a skilled attorney to help you gather all available evidence to strengthen your claim. Working with an experienced long-term disability attorney can significantly increase the odds of getting your claim approved.
Fighting for Your Rights by Your Side
At Rushing Law Firm, PLLC, we advocate for the rights of disabled individuals in El Dorado, Arkansas, and neighboring areas, including Camden, Magnolia, and Crossett. If you need help with appealing a denied Social Security disability claim, our attorney can help. We have the practice, skill, and resources to fight for you while keeping your best interests in mind. Schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your options for appealing your claim.