What to do if Your Disability Case Gets Denied

Published on: August 6, 2015

Application Denial

It’s a known fact that many disability applications get denied; an unfortunate occurrence for those needing support through a tough time. There are many factors that can result in a case being denied:

The SSA has a legion of credentials and acumen that are used to evaluate your application.  If your disability case is denied , don’t quit or give up. We have a list of steps to take when filing an appeal:  

Filing an Appeal

An appeal basically means you are requesting for the SSA to review your case again to see if you are eligible for benefits (this includes SSDI and SSI benefits). Make sure you look at your letter and see what the deadline is for submitting your appeal; you generally have 65 days from the date on your letter of denial to file an appeal.  Submitting documents online will also expedite your case—the SSA advises you to visit their appeals website to learn more about the process.

Four levels of appeal exist:

  • Reconsideration: an objective review of your claim by someone who wasn 't involved in the original decision. You don’t need to meet with anyone for this step in the process.

  • A hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ): a hearing where a judge will question you and any other witnesses brought to the hearing. Any documents can be reviewed here, as well. This can be in-person or via a video hearing.

  • Review by the Appeals Council: you can request a review by the council, but they can deny this if they believe the judge’s decision was correct. This can either be denied, or be sent back for review by an ALJ once more in a process called a Remand.

  • Federal Court review: This step requires an attorney, as this step is a federal lawsuit in a federal district court.

Should I Reapply Before Appealing?

Sending another application can sometimes be a good decision. Before doing this, though, it is integral to discuss your options with your disability representative. They’re well-versed with how the system works, and can advise you of the right steps to take moving forward. While there’s never a guarantee, your chances of getting benefits with an expert are heightened considerably.   There are also limitations to filing a new application while a case is in appeal.

Nationwide statistics from the SSA show that initial applications are denied about 65% of the time. Also, for SSI, “the most common nonmedical reason for denying a claim is excess income.”

The Takeaway

If your case gets denied, it’s important that you find out why; this can be done through a disability advocate, or by checking your letter and contacting the SSA to get more details. That said, it doesn’t warrant giving up or not pursuing your benefits further. Learn the steps for an appeal, as many cases get approved through the appeals process and the ALJ hearing.

It’s no secret that disability applications are arduous and denial rates can be high. We hope you’ve learned more about the appeals process from this article and can take the next steps to mitigating the issues you or a loved one may have!


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