Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are intended to provide financial relief when you have a health condition that prevents you from working. However, Social Security reserves the right to deny any disability claim. When a person feels they are eligible for disability insurance, but still receive a denial letter, an appeal can be filed.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits
An individual files a disability claim after a physician determines he or she is unable to work due to a health condition or injury. As part of the Social Security Administration’s application process, documentation is required to prove your inability to work for at least 12 consecutive months due to an illness or injury. An extended amount of paperwork and medical forms are needed to process the initial application. To avoid the appeal process, you must fill out all forms correctly and meet any imposed deadlines. Experts recommend filing paperwork as early as possible to avoid delays in an already lengthy process. If an appeal is required, you will be among the 800,000 Americans currently waiting to still receive a ruling.
Filing a Social Security Denial Appeal
In 2017, over 10,000 Americans died while on the disability insurance waiting list. The Social Security Administration states the average wait time for a decision on an appeal case is 540 days. According to Ankin Law Office LLC, filing an appeal typically makes the most sense over re-applying for disability insurance. If an appeal is won, you will receive back pay that starts from the date listed on the original claim. However, people who did not have enough work credits or their condition has worsened will usually re-file instead of appealing.
The first step is to request an appeal with your local Social Security office. If you have yet to retain a disability attorney, you should also do so at this time. Appeals must be filed within 65 days from the date of the denial letter. An initial appeal is submitted through a “Request for Reconsideration” form. Reconsideration decisions are typically given within 90 to 120 days.
If the reconsideration for benefits is denied, the next step in the appeals process is to schedule a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. You and your attorney will present evidence to substantiate your claim. Hearings may not be scheduled for 12 to 24 months after the request is made.
The appeals process does not end with the administrative law judge, If you disagree with the court’s decision, you can ask to have your case reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Council. Your case may go back to the court for further review or the council may give a decision. If the Social Security Appeals Council won’t review your claim or you disagree with their ruling, you can then file a lawsuit in federal court.
Anyone who believes his or her denied claim is eligible for appeal should review the Social Security Blue Book, states Ankin Law Office LLC. The book lists impairments and the medical criteria needed for an individual to be considered disabled. Social Security has strict qualifications, but if you have evidence that you meet their requirements and are still denied, an appeal should be filed.