How to Appeal a Social Security Disability Denial

Of the millions of applications viewed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) each year, approximately two-thirds of all initial claims for Social Security Disability are denied. These low acceptance rates have many applicants seeking appeals for Social Security Disability coverage, which often prove more effective. If your application for Social Security disability (SSDI) was denied, there are a number of ways you may still hope to gain coverage. Depending on why your claim was denied, you may request reconsideration of the initial claim, request a hearing, or seek a review from the Appeals Council or the Federal Court.

A person may be denied Social Security Disability if he or she fails to provide sufficient medical evidence, the medical issue does not qualify, the applicant does not meet income requirements, the applicant fails to follow treatment, the applicant does not comply with SSA requests, or there is proof of drug or alcohol abuse. The reason for your denial will be explained in full in the denial notice sent by the SSA.

Requesting Reconsideration

Whether you just received a notification of termination of benefits or a denial of a claim, you may submit an official request for reconsideration. It is crucial that you take action quickly because there is only a 60-day window after the notice of denial where reconsideration may be requested. When the SSA reconsiders a claim, the previous medical consultant and examiner will be unable to review your claim. Instead, a new pair of consultants from the Disability Determination Services level will review the resubmitted claim independently. If the claim is denied again, you will receive a denial notice similar to the initial denial.

Administrative Law Judge Hearing

If your claim was denied in reconsideration, the next step to pursue Social Security Disability is to request a hearing before the administrative law judge. Again, this request must be submitted within 60 days after the receipt of the most recent denial. The hearings offer a much higher chance of obtaining Social Security Disability than initial claims or reconsideration requests. While only 5-10% of reconsiderations are granted, roughly 67% of those with hearings before administrative law judges leave with winning appeals.

At the hearing, the person with the injury claim may also include witnesses, such as medical professionals or experts who may attest to the claimant’s condition. The judge may also ask for further evidence and information, so the claimant should be prepared to provide as much evidence as possible.

Appeals Council

Should your hearing result in a denial, the next option is to request a review from the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council may choose not to review a case and dismiss it, or they may choose to grant or deny a review. The council may make this decision by examining the administrative law judge’s decision and looking for any mistakes or flaws in the denial.

Federal Court Review

When applications for Social Security Disability are denied through all other means of appeal, there is one final option to appeal. Someone who believes he or she should rightfully be granted Social Security Disability may file a lawsuit in the U.S. district court against the Social Security Administration. The federal judge presiding over the case will usually look at the decisions made by the administrative law judge and the appeals council to search for errors, and may ask the applicant about his or her disability.

Once your application for Social Security Disability is denied and ready for an ALJ Application, contact Cantrell, Goodge & Associates in Clinton, TN for help.


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