SSD Denials are Far More Common Than You Think
A Denial Doesn’t Mean You Are Out of Options
Due to the program’s strict qualification criteria, Social Security Disability applications are often denied. In fact, according to the Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center, nearly 75 percent of initial applications for SSD are denied for one reason or another. That means that only a quarter of people successfully obtain benefits on the first attempt.
Fortunately, a denial of your initial SSD application isn’t the end of the world. The SSD program offers several levels of appeal, giving you the opportunity to restate your case and provide additional documentation supporting your claim.
When should you get an attorney involved?
It is possible to complete an initial application for SSD benefits without the assistance of an attorney. As soon as you receive notice of denial, however, it is time to get a lawyer involved.
Attempting to traverse the SSD appeals process without the guidance of an experienced lawyer is inadvisable, and will very likely result in ultimate denial of benefits you are entitled to.
With an attorney by your side, you are far more likely to obtain benefits in one of the four appeals processes.
The Reconsideration Phase
The first step in the appeals process is to request a reconsideration of the decision. This request must be filed in writing within 60 days of the denial. This process requires the completion of paperwork, and the submission of additional data. It is important to remember that the information you provide at this step is all that the reviewer has to go on when making a decision. This makes it vital to be as detailed as possible.
The Administrative Hearing
Should your request for reconsideration be denied, you have the right to a hearing before an administrative law judge. This hearing gives you the opportunity to state your case and add details that may convince the judge to approve your application. During the hearing, the administrative judge will review your information and ask questions regarding your application and condition. The hearing may also include testimony from medical and vocational witnesses.
More than any other level, the administrative hearing is the step leading to the most approvals.
The Appeals Council
If the administrative law judge denies your application, your appeal goes to the Social Security Appeals Council (AC). Consisting of more than 50 Administrative Appeals Judges and Appeals Officers, the Council reviews appeals from the entire country. At this stage the Appeals Council will review your claim to determine if mistakes have been made at lower appeals levels. If so, your claim may be approved, or sent back to an administrative law judge for further review.
The Federal Appeal
Should the appeals council deny your claim, you have the right to have your case heard in federal court. At this point, your claim will be reviewed by a federal judge specializing in SSD cases.
You Need Legal Guidance to Traverse the Appeals Process
While it may be tempting to try to appeal a denial on your own, it is important to retain an attorney before requesting a reconsideration. A mistake at any point in the appeals process may lead to the ultimate denial of your claim.
With an experienced SSD attorney at your side, you are much more likely to obtain the benefits you are entitled to.
At Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley, Attorneys at Law, our Tennessee Social Security attorneys successfully represent clients in Murfreesboro, Nashville and surrounding areas, helping them obtain the SSD benefits they are entitled to.
If you need assistance appealing a denial, call 615-893-1331 or contact us online today.