Roughly 61 million American adults are living with some form of disability. For many of these Americans, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a great resource. The insurance program provides much-needed benefits to workers with disabilities and their dependents.
Unfortunately, SSDI benefits aren’t always added upon applying for them. In fact, only 22 percent of initial applications are accepted.
So, what happens if you are denied social security disability benefits? Do not stress. You can still appeal the process and, hopefully, get the help you deserve.
If you’ve just had your social security disability denied, here are seven things you can do to boost your chances of getting accepted the next time.
Talk to a Disability Attorney Right Away
If you didn’t have an attorney during your first application, now’s the time to call one. The fact is having an SSDI attorney by your side greatly boosts your chances of winning your appeal.
An SSDI attorney is thoroughly versed in the appeals process. They can thus help you navigate every hurdle well to ensure that you don’t have your disability benefits denied again.
What about attorney fees? You don’t need to worry about that at all. Disability attorneys generally charge on a contingency basis, meaning that you won’t need to pay a penny until you win the appeal.
Of course, you’ll want to research the SSDI attorneys in your area before entrusting your case to one. Ultimately, you want to work with an attorney you can trust to fight for you throughout the way. You may want to check out this lawyer group.
File the Appeal in a Timely Manner
Once you’ve been denied social security disability benefits, you have 60 days within which to file an appeal. But the sooner your attorney files the appeal, the better.
Your attorney will ensure that all the paperwork required is completed accurately. They’ll also provide the evidence required to support your case.
Once you’ve filed an appeal, a different disability examiner will review it again. Note that it’s not uncommon for cases to be denied multiple times. Thus, if your case is denied again, you needn’t give up as you can still file for a hearing before a judge within 60 days.
Find Out Why Your Case Was Denied
In case your case was denied after you filed an appeal, you need to figure out why this happened. This information helps you and your attorney to prepare your case well before you present it before a judge.
Among the common reasons for denial include:
Lack of Medical Evidence
You need solid medical evidence that documents your disability and how that disability prevents you from working. If your application was denied, it could very well be because it lacked this information.
Too High Earnings
Disability earnings are meant for people who aren’t able to work. If you’re still working and earning considerable income, it could make you ineligible for the benefits.
Not Following Treatment Advice
If there are gaps in your medical care or evidence you didn’t follow your doctor’s advice on treatment for your disability, your application will be denied. That’s because it’s not possible to determine whether you’re really disabled or simply not receiving the medical treatment you require.
Not Cooperating With SSA’s Requirements
If you ignore SSA’s requests for additional information or otherwise fail to cooperate during any step of the application or appeals process, your claim will hardly be successful. That’s why you need the help of an attorney to ensure you do everything as required.
As soon as you understand the reason your case was denied, you and your attorney can start work on rectifying the issue before you appear in court.
Submit Any New Medical Evidence
Your medical condition may change when appealing a decision or preparing to appear in front of a judge. Be sure to inform the SSA of these changes. Sure, doing so requires more time and extra paperwork, but it could prove very beneficial in your case.
Any new medical evidence could help sway the decision in your favor. That’s because it provides the evaluator with more reasons to accept your appeal.
You can opt to submit the evidence along with your appeal or on its own.
Gather Doctors’ Testimonials
Doctors’ evaluations are taken very seriously when the SSA is assessing your case. If you didn’t include these testimonials during your previous application, it’s a great idea to do so now.
Request your doctors to fill out residual functional forms (RFCs). If they already did, you may ask them to submit revised RFC forms showing any new or worsening medical conditions.
Your doctors may also provide official descriptions or documentation of your current medical condition. Such documentation reinforces why the physicians think your condition is serious enough to warrant financial support.
Be Completely Honest
Be totally forthright at all levels of your appeal when providing information regarding your impairment and how the impairment limits you.
If you suffer any psychiatric problems as a result of your impairment, for instance, don’t be embarrassed to disclose them. Such problems will be considered during your disability determination.
That being said, you should avoid being melodramatic and exaggerating issues. If the SSA discovers you’ve been dishonest about any aspect, they’ll most likely turn you down.
Having Your Social Security Disability Denied Isn’t the End
Many applicants who have their social security disability denied give up immediately, but this shouldn’t be the case. With the help of a seasoned disability attorney, you can kickstart the appeals process and fight for your deserved financial support.
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