Suffering a disability is already stressful enough. But it can get even worse when your claim for disability benefits is denied. Most people panic or give up when they hear this news. However, you shouldn’t react in the same way. There are still some things you can do to change that decision. If you get denied for a disability benefits claim, here are four steps you should take.
- Request an appeal
Did you know that a majority of claims get denied? This should be enough motivation for you to pursue an appeal. As soon as you hear the news, go ahead and request an appeal immediately as there is a 60-day deadline for doing so.
Even if you have no legal representation, you can still file for an appeal, personally. The most important thing is that your request is on record. If you fail to do so, you’ll need to start all over again and file for Social Security disability; this is a huge waste of your time and could result in another denial.
Aside from that, you’ll also have a greater chance of getting benefits when you appeal instead of starting over with a new application. The sooner you appeal, the quicker Social Security can schedule a hearing for you.
- Find out the reason why
After you have sent your appeal, it’s time to figure out what the denial means. There are several reasons why you could have been denied. It could be that you’re healthy enough to earn a part-time income that’s above Social Security’s disability income threshold.
You could also be denied if Social Security has determined that you did not follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment or you failed to show up at medical exams. This is why it’s important for you to keep in touch with the person handling your case. That way, you’re able to present additional documentation right away if they ask for it.
The reason for denial should be written in your notice but it may not be completely clear to you especially if it’s a technical rationale. A “technical rationale” is an explanation of why your medical issue is not enough to hinder you from doing relevant work.
Again, you should not be discouraged by this. There is a reason why appeals exist. A denial doesn’t mean you’re not going to get your disability benefits. It just means you need to present more evidence for your case. This is where disability lawyers come in really handy.
- Hire a disability lawyer
The whole process of requesting an appeal can be overwhelming. A disability lawyer can help make it easy for you. They will guide you throughout the whole process and ensure that you are doing everything correctly –from strengthening your appeal to making sure you meet the deadlines.
There is no guarantee that hiring a lawyer will get your case approved but it will certainly increase your chance of success. For some lawyers, it can be in their best interest to help you win if they work on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay them upfront but they earn a percentage of your back pay if your claim gets approved.
- Prepare for the hearing
The next step is to appear in the hearing. This is where the administrative law judge will listen to your appeal for why you should receive disability benefits. There may also be a medical expert and vocational expert present at the hearing. You’ll have the option to bring a witness and additional evidence that supports your condition.
This is a very delicate situation and everything the judge gathers from the hearing will be used as the basis for whether your appeal should be approved or denied. Make sure you are prepared and discuss everything with your lawyer.
We hope you found these tips helpful. Do you have stories of disability claims getting denied or appeals getting approved? Share them in the comments below.