It is understandable to feel confused or unsure about what to do when Social Security Disability is denied. While you have the option of filing an appeal to get the benefits you need, in most cases you must do so within 60 days of the denial.
The appeals process involves many steps and may be easier with the help of an attorney from our firm. We can take care of everything from identifying additional evidence to representing you at hearings, reviews, and other meetings.
Appealing a Social Security Disability Decision
There are multiple steps to the appeals process, as the Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines. Once you receive a claim denial, you have 60 days to take the first step by filing your appeal. If you miss this deadline, you have “accepted” the SSA’s judgment and can no longer appeal that claim.
This appeals process is the same regardless of whether you file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
If you disagree with the denial, you can ask an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to take another look at your case. They will go through all of the information in your application and may render a new decision.
If upon reconsideration, the ALJ still denies your claim, you can request a hearing. This process involves:
- Scheduling and attending a hearing, either virtually or in person
- Telling the judge why you believe you deserve benefits
- Submitting new evidence for the judge’s consideration (if you have any)
Appeals Council Review
The third step in the appeals process is to ask the Appeals Council to go over your case. There are three possible outcomes to your request.
- The Council disagrees that a review is warranted and denies your request.
- The Council agrees that a review is warranted and sends your case back to the ALJ for further review.
- The Council agrees that a review is warranted and reviews your case themselves.
Finally, if all of the previous steps return negative results, you can file a lawsuit against the SSA and take your case to court. If the federal district court accepts your case, you will have to:
- File your lawsuit with the appropriate court
- Submit your evidence and other materials to the court
- Schedule trial dates
If Your claim was Denied, We Can Help
Our firm can provide timely, compassionate assistance when you need it most. Whether you have already received a denial or have yet to start your claim, we can:
- Act quickly: SSDI and SSI appeals have strict deadlines. We can take swift action to ensure that your appeal is not rejected for a technicality, like being late.
- Review and collect evidence: We can go over the documents you have already gathered and identify possible new sources of evidence.
- Submit information: We can ensure that applications, evidence, and other materials get where they need to go within the prescribed deadlines.
- Represent you at hearing: If your case gets as far as a hearing, we can advocate for your rights in that hearing.
- Respond to your questions: We take as much time as our clients need to go over legal concepts and address whatever concerns they may have.
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Why Was My Claim Denied?
There are many reasons why the SSA may turn down your application for benefits. Some of them have nothing to do with whether or not you actually deserve benefits, including:
- Missed deadlines
- Clerical errors or factual inaccuracies in your application
- Missing or incomplete records (In other words, you did not supply them with all of the documentation they need to make a decision.)
No matter where the trouble lies in your case, we want to help. Our disability lawyers can examine every detail and figure out what your next steps should be.
Seeking the Right Benefits
Alternatively, your claim may have been denied because you did not apply for the right kind of disability. There are two types of Social Security Disability, and each of them has a different set of qualifications, as discussed below.
- To seek SSDI, you need to have worked for a set number of years and have a qualifying disability.
- To seek SSI, you must be disabled or above retirement age, and you must have limited means and ability to support yourself.
- Disabled widows/widowers and children may be able to apply for either SSDI or SSI, depending on their circumstances.
Our law firm can provide you with more information about the different types of Social Security Disability and which one you should apply for.
We Can Help You File an Appeal
If you want help figuring out what to do when your Social Security Disability application is denied, Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, would like to help. When you call our office at (828) 286-3866, a member of our team will tell you more about your options after a Social Security Disability denial.