Social Security Disability benefits provide critical financial support to individuals unable to work due to a disability. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies many initial applications for disability benefits. If your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, it’s essential to understand the appeals process apart from hiring a social security disability lawyer representative to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the Social Security Disability appeals process and explain how to address common issues that may have led to the initial denial of your claim.
Reasons for Social Security Disability Denials
There are many reasons why Social Security Disability claims are denied. Some common reasons include the following:
- Lack of medical evidence: To be approved for disability benefits, you must provide medical evidence demonstrating your disability and its impact on your ability to work. If your medical records are incomplete or do not provide sufficient proof of your disability, your claim may be denied.
- Failure to follow prescribed treatment: If you have been prescribed treatment for your disability and fail to follow through with it, your claim may be denied.
- Earning too much money: When earning more than the substantial gainful activity limit (currently $1,310 per month), you may not qualify for disability benefits.
- Failure to cooperate: Your claim may only be allowed if you provide all the information that the Social Security Administration (SSA) requests and attend scheduled appointments.
To address these common issues during the appeals process, it is essential to gather all necessary medical documentation, follow through with prescribed treatment, and work closely with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.
Overview of the Appeals Process
If your Social Security Disability claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. The appeals process has four levels, as discussed below.
Level One: Reconsideration
The first level of appeal is called reconsideration. During this stage, your case will be reviewed by a different claims examiner than the one who made the initial decision. You can submit additional evidence supporting your claim, including new medical records or other documentation.
Level Two: Hearing
If your claim is denied at the reconsideration stage, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This is the most critical stage of the appeals process, as statistics show that the majority of disability claims that are approved are approved at the hearing stage. You will have the opportunity to testify at the hearing and present additional evidence supporting your claim.
Level Three: Appeals Council Review
When your claim is denied at the hearing stages, you can request a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review the ALJ’s decision to ensure it was made by Social Security law and regulations. The Appeals Council may decide to review your case, deny your request for review, or send your case back to the ALJ for further review.
Level Four: Federal Court Review
If the claim is denied at the Appeals Council stage, you can file a lawsuit in federal court. This is a complex and time-consuming process that requires the help of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.
If you are facing a Social Security Disability denial and need help navigating the appeals process, please get in touch with LaPorte Law Firm. Their experienced team of social security disability lawyers has helped thousands of clients successfully appeal their denials and obtain the benefits they deserve.