Every year, millions of Americans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), 2,015,200 applications for disability benefits were submitted in 2019. However, only 35.9 percent of those applications were approved. If you have received a denial notice, you might wonder, “Social Security denied my claim. What now?”
Social Security Denied My Claim. What Now?
Approximately 70 percent of Social Security disability applications are initially denied. However, the Social Security Administration reports that an average of 53 percent of total claims filed are ultimately approved. This means that many claims that are initially denied are approved during the appeals process.
So if you’ve just received a denial, don’t give up hope! Be proactive and take the following steps to appeal the decision:
Review the Denial Notice Carefully
When disability benefits claims are denied, the Social Security Administration mails a denial notice to the applicant. Read this letter carefully. It should list the reasons why your claim was denied and how you can appeal the decision. Some of the common reasons why a disability benefits claim might be denied include the following:
- Insufficient medical evidence submitted by the claimant
- Earning more than the substantial gainful activity income limit
- Ignoring requests for information
If your claim was denied because of insufficient medical evidence or ignoring requests for information, you can add additional evidence to support your claim during the appeal. An attorney at Ellis & Associates can help you understand the types of evidence that you might need to submit to increase the likelihood that your appeal will succeed.
Deadline for Filing an Appeal
The denial letter will also include a deadline for an appeal. You must file your appeal within the deadline. If you don’t, you will have to start the process over by filing a new application.
In addition, keep in mind that when you file an appeal and are later approved for benefits, your benefits will be backdated to the date of your application. So if you fail to file an appeal on time and later submit a new application, you stand to lose some of the back pay that you might otherwise have received.
Request for Reconsideration
Do not give up when you receive a denial notice or choose to reapply instead of filing an appeal. Start by filing a request for reconsideration. This will prompt a review of your application by a different disability examiner, and you can submit additional information that you believe is relevant to your case. If your claim is denied after a reconsideration, you will want to submit an appeal.
Filing an Appeal
When you’re ready to submit your appeal, it’s helpful to consult an attorney for guidance. An attorney can make a big difference in your case, helping you navigate the appeals process and gather new medical evidence to support your claim. You might also want to submit a residual functional capacity document. This document is completed by a doctor and is used to show how your condition prevents you from performing work tasks. This can help if your condition does not meet a listing in the Blue Book.
Most appeals go through the disability hearing stage. This is an informal hearing held in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ), who will listen to the reasons why you should be approved for SSDI benefits. A medical expert and a vocational expert may be present to advise the ALJ about medical and work issues related to your condition. You may also bring witnesses to the hearing. (Your attorney can help you determine if this is advisable.)
If you win your appeal at the hearing, you will receive benefits and backpay dated back to the time of your application or the date when you first became disabled and unable to work. If the ALJ upholds the denial, the appeal will move to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will not consider new evidence but will review the ALJ’s decision to make sure that the correct procedures and laws were followed. The Appeals Council may agree with the ALJ’s decision or overturn it. Your claim might also be sent back to the ALJ for reconsideration with information about mistakes that might have been made.
Contact Ellis & Associates Today
Social Security denied my claim. What now? If you have applied for disability benefits and been denied, we encourage you to consult an experienced SSDI attorney for advice about how to proceed. To schedule your free consultation, contact Ellis & Associates today by sending us a message online or calling 800-MR-ELLIS. We look forward to hearing from you.