In 2019, Social Security benefits were paid to 10 million people. People rely on these benefits to pay bills and take care of their families, even though they can’t work.
If you’re unable to work due to a debilitating injury or condition, you’re entitled to Social Security benefits. Getting these benefits approved is a lengthy process.
If you’re waiting for a decision or you were denied Social Security benefits, you need to know what to do next.
Keep reading to learn why people get denied Social Security benefits and what you can do if you receive a claim denial.
Reasons for Denied Social Security Benefits
There are two types of Social Security benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSI benefits are based on your age, disability, and your work history. Disability benefits get awarded to those with a disability and enough work credits.
It is possible for a person to be eligible for both SSDI and SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration considers your benefits to run concurrently, meaning that you collect them at the same time.
You have to show that your disability prevents you from working. It’s up to you to provide a mountain of evidence and documentation to prove that. If you don’t submit enough strong evidence, your claim will get denied.
Not only that, but you also have to demonstrate that you followed your doctor’s advice. If you skip appointments or don’t follow instructions, your claim will get denied. They’ll say that they can’t tie your disability to your inability to work if you’re not getting treatment.
If you’re in the middle of the application process and the Social Security Administration sends a request for information, be sure to send it in a timely fashion.
That’s called a failure to cooperate, and your claim gets denied.
Many people receive a denial and they submit another application. That second application will get denied. You can file for an appeal, which is described in more detail in the next section.
Insight Into the Appeals Process
Did you just receive a denial from the Social Security Administration? It’s frustrating considering that you jumped through so many hoops to fill out the application. It’s even more frustrating knowing that you paid into Social Security for years.
It turns out that you’re in great company. The majority of Social Security disability claims get denied the first time.
Take a minute to gather your thoughts. There’s plenty of work ahead of you. You have the chance to appeal your denial.
Most people don’t know that they can appeal. Some are just exhausted from the initial application process, so they give up.
You have 60 days to request an appeal. The first step in the disability appeals process is reconsideration. This is when someone in the Social Security Administration does a review of your application.
They’ll look over everything you submitted, plus new evidence to support your claim.
If the reconsideration process results in a denied claim, you can take your appeal to an administrative law judge. The judge will hold a hearing. The hearing is either in-person or over video.
Expect to get questions asking about your disability and why you can’t work. The burden is on you to show that your disability prevents you from working.
What happens if the judge denies your claim as well? There is an Appeals Council, and you can request that they review the judge’s decision.
They may deny your request to review your claim. If they do and decide not to overturn the judge’s decision, you’re not out of luck.
There’s still one last stand to take, and that’s to file a civil suit in federal court. This is a Federal Court Review. You need to file the civil suit with 60 days of the Appeals Council’s decision.
Steps to Take After Denial
The appeals process is long and intimidating. You do not want to go through it with little legal expertise. You need to contact a lawyer like this SS attorney that specializes in these cases.
They’ll review your case and prepare you for the appeals process. You want to make sure that you hire an attorney who has a lot of success with these cases.
As you search for attorneys to represent you, ask them about their most recent cases and client results.
Don’t get put off by the attorney’s fees, either. The Social Security Administration has a law that allows attorneys to earn so much from your case.
Attorneys can ask for some charges upfront to cover administrative costs, such as mailing and copying documents. This is about $200.
They can’t charge a fee for their time unless you win the appeal. The attorney has to send a fee agreement to the Social Security Administration for approval.
They can charge 25% of your back pay or $6,000, whichever is less.
You’ll work with your attorney to make sure that they have all of the relevant documentation for your appeal. They may discover new evidence to submit. They line up medical experts to speak on your behalf as well.
You have a much better chance at winning an appeal with an attorney than you do on your own.
Understanding Social Security Benefits
You spend your entire career paying into Social Security. Trying to get funds that you are entitled to when you need them is a special challenge.
Many people are denied Social Security. Don’t get discouraged if you’re one of them. Go through the appeals process and get a good attorney to help you with your claim.
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