After 22 years as a welder, Michael could no longer ignore his back pain. He saw several doctors for his condition, took his meds, and followed his physical therapist’s instructions. However, nothing worked, so Michael had to quit his job. He confidently applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, sure that his benefits would be approved. However, his SSDI request was denied. What can he do now? He needs to support his family but physically cannot work enough to do so. Michael still has options, though.
He could file an appeal.
Read the Denial Letter Carefully.
The Social Security Administration (Social Security) sends applicants a letter when it denies a request for benefits. It’s crucial that you pay attention to this letter. Read it as soon as you get it and follow any instructions in the letter. Social Security will explain why your application was denied, and this important detail can help you move on to the next stage of your claim.
Tell Your Attorney That Your SSDI Claim Was Denied.
First, if you have not hired a disability lawyer, this is the time to do it. Social Security rejects about 65% of first-time SSDI claims. The chance that your initial application will be approved is slim, but your chances of success are even worse at the appeal stage.
Make sure your attorney has a copy of the official denial letter from Social Security. You and your attorney can discuss the reasons behind the denial. Also, remember that the denial letter does not always mean you have to give up on your quest for SSDI benefits. Your disability lawyer can help you decide whether to continue and get your appeal started.
File a Request for Reconsideration.
If you decide to appeal, you will need to complete and file Form SSA-561 – Request for Reconsideration. You may also file a Disability Report – Appeal (Form SSA-3441) and an Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (Form SSA-821) if your claim was denied for medical reasons.
Ask for a Hearing
Social Security also denies many Requests for Reconsideration. So, you and your disability attorney may continue to the next stage of your appeal – asking for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). However, ALJs approve benefits for only about 50% of applicants who request a hearing.
Appeal to the Appeals Council
Social Security also has an Appeals Council, which is the next step in your appeal if an ALJ did not approve your claim. Unfortunately, the Appeals Council often dismisses or denies claims without even holding a hearing.
File a Lawsuit
Finally, you can file a lawsuit in federal court if your SSDI claim was denied at every previous level. This step is the most difficult. If you have been trying to handle your appeal by yourself, please call an attorney before attempting this step.
You Don’t Have to Quit if Your SSDI Claim Was Denied
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience in the legal field. Much of their work involves Social Security disability cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.