Marla called a disability attorney recently. Unable to work because of fibromyalgia, her finances were in bad shape. She needed help and she needed it now. You can imagine her distress. Marla had just opened a letter from the Social Security Administration and learned her claim had been denied. She was left wondering what her next steps would be.
Roughly two-thirds of Social Security Disability Claims are denied the first time they are submitted. So, the good news is that you are not alone. The other good news is that you can appeal an SSDI denial.
SSDI applications are denied for a number of medical and non-medical reasons. For example:
- income or resources may be too high to qualify,
- disability does not meet the levels required by the Social Security Administration,
- applicant does not cooperate with SSA caseworkers or their own medical providers.
These are just a few of the reasons an application might be denied.
The denial letter is the first place an applicant should look for answers. It’s important to read the letter carefully or have your attorney read it. The letter should state the reasons the application was denied. At that point, the applicant can take their request for disability benefits to the next level.
Denials can be appealed online or in writing. There are four levels of appeal:
Request for Reconsideration. Applicants will submit:
- Form SSA-561, Request for Reconsideration.
- Form SSA-3441, Disability Report – Appeal.
- Form SSA-827, Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration.
In some cases, only the first form is required. The Social Security Administration will review your request for reconsideration. If denied at this first level, applicants can continue their appeal.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing. Applicants can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. About 50% of appeals are granted. However, there are more options for claims that are denied again.
Appeals Council. If requested, the Appeals Council can review the claim. Sometimes, though, the Council dismisses a case without even reviewing it. If denied again, applicants can go to the final step.
Federal Court Review. Applicants at this level file lawsuits in the United States District Court. The lawsuit asks that a federal judge review the disability claim. Sometimes the judge will approve the claim. However, the judge often just sends the case back to the Social Security Administration for review.
If You or a Loved One Has Been Denied, Don’t Give Up.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience with Social Security Disability Insurance cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100 or use our convenient Contact Form. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.