You may believe that you are entitled to Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, but there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. In fact, there is a good chance that it won’t. The Social Security Administration itself reports that more than 60% of all initial disability claims are denied.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of receiving an approval of benefits, it’s helpful to spend some time learning the rules. You may also want to know what some of the most common reasons are for the denial of disability claims.
Why Does the SSA Deny Disability Claims?
According to data collected from the SSA, there are several main types of claim denials:
- Technical Details. The SSA can deny your claim on a technical issue before it even gets to the part where it assesses your disability. The most common reason for this is that you don’t have the required amount of work credits to qualify for SSDI. You may also make too much money for SSI.
- Medical Reasons. If you file an application for benefits for a condition that the SSA does not consider to be qualifying, then you will receive a denial. Your claim could also be denied if the condition is not supposed to last for a year or longer or if you didn’t submit enough medical evidence to prove your case. The SSA might also deny your claim if your condition is related to substance abuse or if you fail to follow the prescribed treatment of your medical provider.
- Nonmedical Reasons. There are other nonmedical reasons that a claim could be denied. For example, if you are not a citizen or resident alien, you are not eligible. You also aren’t eligible if you have been convicted of certain crimes or have committed fraud.
How to Improve Your Chances of Claim Acceptance
Delays in your disability case due to technical and other mistakes can be time-consuming and costly. When you are already unable to work, each week that you must continue to wage this battle creates a more severe emotional and financial hardship on you and your loved ones.
When you work with a qualified disability attorney, you can reduce your risk of a claim denial due to insufficient evidence and technical errors. While no lawyer can guarantee a claim acceptance, they can help improve your chances in several ways.
- Verification of Eligibility. Your lawyer can investigate your work credits, income level, and other issues to increase the odds that your claim won’t be denied based on an eligibility technicality.
- Gathering Medical Records. Since you must meet certain medical and disability qualifications for benefits, your attorney can ensure that you have collected the right evidence to help prove your case.
What Can You Do If Your Claim is Denied?
First, don’t panic. This is where many people go wrong. Panicking makes it hard to think clearly, plan your next step, and make the most of the time you have to appeal. Realize that most people get denied on their first try when they apply for Social Security disability benefits. This doesn’t mean that you won’t get disability benefits. It simply means that, for whatever reason, your application was not strong enough or did not have the right information. That can be fixed, and you may still be able to receive disability benefits.
Appeal the Decision
Some people move to filling out a new disability application, but this isn’t the right choice for most people. Instead, appeal the original denial. This may help your file get seen quicker, while doing a new application bumps you to the back of the line.
But it’s important to appeal the decision correctly. If you appeal with the same information you used to apply, it’s unlikely you’ll get the result you’re hoping for.
Find an Attorney to Help You
Hiring a disability attorney can help you make your appeal as strong as possible. If your application was denied, there’s a reason they made that decision. However, without previous experience with these types of claims, you are unlikely to know what you need to do for a successful appeal.
That’s why it’s very helpful to hire an attorney. A disability attorney has handled hundreds or thousands of applications and appeals, allowing them to develop a strong sense of what works and what does not. They can analyze your application, find weak spots, and get the information needed for an appeal.
Figure Out Why Your Application Was Denied
One of the main reasons you need an attorney is to figure out why your application was denied. Remember, a denial does not mean you aren’t disabled enough for Social Security benefits. It means that you did not successfully prove your disability to the agency.
There are several reasons an application may be denied. First, it may not have enough information. If you submit an application missing key elements, it may be denied without any further analysis. This is an easy mistake to make.
Your application may also be denied because you do not have enough medical evidence. Proving that your disability keeps you from working is a significant challenge, and many people underestimate how much documentation is necessary.
Your attorney may recommend that you get additional documentation from other medical professionals, including those with experience handling Social Security disability documentation. Using the right language to classify and explain your disability may make it more clear to Social Security officials.
You may have missed the deadline for submitting additional documentation or requested information. This often leads to a default denial of benefits.
Listen to Your Attorney
Your attorney will have the best personalized advice when it comes to navigating the appeal process, so make sure you are in frequent contact with them. If they request additional medical documentation, recommend medical checks by other healthcare professionals, or ask for other information, submit it promptly. Any unnecessary delays can endanger your appeal.
Social Security benefit denials happen, and this doesn’t have to be the end of your case. You have several opportunities to appeal a denial of benefits, but it’s important that you follow the rules and make them count.
There are deadlines for these appeals (60 days) and often a request that you provide additional information. If you just ask for reconsideration and then don’t offer any additional evidence, you are likely going to receive the same result.
While there are multiple levels of appeal available, the results will be more in your favor if you have a knowledgeable disability insurance attorney working on your behalf. Many applicants for these benefits fail to realize that they can get skilled representation at any time during the process. Having to handle this on your own can only add to an already stressful situation.
Worry Less About SSDI and SSI – Speak with a Disability Attorney Now
The claims process with the SSA is complicated at best, and this can be a stressful experience if you are dealing with a disabling condition. At Walton Law, LLC, you don’t have to wait until the SSA turns you down to ask us for help. We can help beginning with the initial application, although we can certainly help with appeals as well.
Our office provides personalized service to clients throughout the Mobile area. Contact us now at 251-455-5819 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.