According to the Social Security Administration, over 2 million people apply for disability benefits each year. If you are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, you know that navigating the process can often feel daunting. You may have spent considerable time preparing your application, ensuring every detail is accurate and that you have complied with all requirements. So, it can feel disheartening when you receive a notice of denial.
A denial, however, does not mean you should abandon your efforts. Many denials result from misunderstandings or missing information, which you can correct on appeal.
Understand the reason for denial
The denial letter you receive from the SSA should contain the specific reason for the denial of your claim. This could be due to insufficient medical evidence, income above the substantial gainful activity level or a determination that you can perform other types of work. Reading and understanding this reason can provide the basis for your appeal.
File an appeal
If you believe that the SSA has made a mistake in denying your application, you can file an appeal. The appeal process involves four levels: reconsideration, a hearing by an administrative law judge, review by the Appeals Council and review by federal courts. Remember to file your request for an appeal within 60 days of receiving your denial letter.
Collect more evidence
When you decide to appeal, you will want to gather additional evidence to support your claim. This could include more detailed medical records, letters from physicians detailing your inability to work or even testimonies from former employers. The more comprehensive your evidence, the better your chances are of overturning the denial.
Prepare for a hearing
If your claim reaches the hearing stage, it means you will present your case in front of an administrative law judge. It is important to prepare thoroughly for this hearing. You can do this by understanding the questions that the judge will likely ask and preparing clear and concise answers. It is also helpful to lead with facts about your condition instead of using emotion to reason why you deserve benefits.
Dealing with an SSDI denial can seem overwhelming, but you can take steps to fight the decision. It may require patience and persistence, but many initial denials turn into approvals upon appeal.