Social Security is supposed to be a safety net, more than just for retirees, but for those people who suffer injuries and illnesses that leave them disabled and unable to work. For many, however, the quest to receive these benefits turns into a struggle. What do you do if you are unable to hold down gainful employment, but your request for social security is denied at either the state or federal level? Learn why your social security claim may have been denied, why it’s not the end and what an attorney can do to help ensure your benefits.
Social Security Denials
Many claims for social security are denied the first time they are filed. There is, however, good news for those to whom this happens. It’s not the end! A large percentage of denied SSI and SSDI claims are actually reversed when challenged. In fact, almost 50% of all SSDI denials are overturned on appeal.
Should I Appeal?
The agency can be overzealous and make mistakes when determining eligibility for claims. They may, for example, believe that an illness is short-term or minor when it is truly debilitating. If you fall into this category, where you truly believe your claim is justified, you may be able to convince the government or courts to change their minds.
The Appeals Process
The SSA provides a form called a “Request for Reconsideration” which forms the core of the appeals process. You will complete this form, which includes basic personal information and reasons why you feel your claim should be reconsidered. You will need to include as much documentation and backup for your claim as possible. If you’ve got new evidence to present, this is the time to do so. Letters from an outside agency—a former employer, doctors and the like—can also help. If you are challenging a disability denial, you’ll also need the “Disability Report – Appeal” form.
Complexities of the Process
There are a number of complexities involved in the process, which can take any of four levels:
- Reconsideration, an informal review
- Administrative hearings
- National Appeals Council
- Federal lawsuit
Before you reach any of these levels, it’s a good idea to get a qualified attorney who is versed in dealing with the SSA. It may seem like at the first level you can handle it on your own, but having an attorney can actually prevent the process from going to higher levels. Attorneys know exactly how to argue these cases, and know how to get you the benefits you need and desire.
Certainly, if you are denied again on reconsideration, you should have an attorney for the formal appeals process. If you are in a situation where you need to challenge an SSI or SSDI denial, and you think an attorney might be of assistance, we are here to help. Read a bit more about the process in Chicago, and get in touch with us for a no-obligation consultation today!