What Can You Do If Your SSD Benefits Claim Was Denied?
If you have applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and were denied, don’t give up hope. Many SSD benefits claims are denied when they are first filed. The key to having these benefits approved is to take prompt action in order to protect your right to appeal.
Frank M. Eidson is an experienced SSD benefits attorney who can handle your appeal personally from beginning to end. If your claim has been denied, simply contact him today and receive a thorough review of your case for no charge.
Ask Yourself: Why Was Your Claim Denied?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) typically sends a letter to notify applicants that a claim for SSD benefits was denied. In the letter, the SSA often lists the reason for the denial.
Common reasons an SSD benefits claim is denied include:
You make too much money – The SSA sets a limit on the amount you can earn each month and still be considered “disabled” for benefits purposes. The number was $1,070 in 2014. It is adjusted each year.
The SSA believes your disability is short-term – In order to qualify for benefits, you must have a condition that prevents you from working for at least 12 months or is expected to result in your death. If the SSA believes you meet neither of these requirements, it will deny your claim.
The SSA doesn’t have the information it needs to make a decision – Without your medical records and other information, the SSA cannot determine whether you qualify for benefits. This is why it is crucial to respond promptly to requests for information.
You aren’t following your doctor’s orders – If the SSA thinks you’re refusing or failing to follow your prescribed therapy, your benefits may be denied. However, there are certain acceptable reasons for failing to follow therapy, including mental or physical incapacity, religious prohibitions and financial hardship. You may need to communicate your reason to the SSA.
Appealing a Denial for Benefits: Steps in the Process
The first step in appealing a denial for benefits is to file a notice of appeal. You have 60 days from the date on the letter to file this notice. You may file it yourself or have your attorney file it for you.
Once notice is filed, the appeals process begins. There are four stages in this process:
Reconsideration – At this stage, your case is sent to a new reviewer at the Florida Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. This reviewer will look over your medical records and make a decision.
Hearing – If your claim is denied after reconsideration, you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). You may request an in-person hearing. The judge will review your documentation, talk to you and your attorney and hear from experts before making a decision.
Appeals Council Review – If the administrative law judge denies your claim after a hearing, you may request a review by the Appeals Council. Your case will be reviewed, and a decision will be made thereafter.
District Court – If your claim is denied at the Appeals Council Review level, you may file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. Your case will be heard by the court, with your attorney presenting evidence. The court will issue an official decision known as an “opinion.”
Your claim might be granted at any step in this process. If your appeal is granted, you do not have to complete all four steps in the process.
Who Can Help Me Appeal My Claim?
An experienced SSD benefits attorney can help you work through every stage of the appeals process. For instance, at Frank M. Eidson, P.A., we will make sure that you meet deadlines, provide strong evidence to the SSA and take every step possible to shorten the time it takes to get your claim approved.
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