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What Should I Do If My Social Security Disability Application is Denied?

Filing an SSDI Claim

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a long, stressful experience. If you’re applying for assistance from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you’ve likely been out of work for an extended period and are worrying about how you’ll make ends meet without additional help. Unfortunately, receiving that help can be a challenge. The SSA approves only 24% of all SSDI initial applications, so rejection at that first level is more likely than not.   If your application for SSDI benefits has been denied, don’t give up hope but do consider hiring an attorney to assist you in appealing your denial.

After their initial application is denied, many applicants will abandon their existing application and try to file a brand new application rather than requesting an administrative hearing before a judge.  Generally, those who request a hearing will have more luck in eventually obtaining benefits.  The approval rate is approximately 65% among those who appeal to the next stage in the process.

What Should I Do If My Social Security Disability Application is Denied?

Check Your Appeal Deadline

The paperwork you received with your denial should also have information on when and how you can appeal. Pay careful attention to this. The appeal deadline is often very close, and many people lose their chance to appeal simply by not reading the letter in full. If you miss the appeal deadline, you may still be able to appeal if you have good reason. However, it is likely that you will have to redo the entire process instead.

Hire an Attorney

Get in touch with a Montgomery disability attorney. At The Dansby Law Firm, we focus exclusively on disability and Social Security cases. This gives us the chance to dig deep into current trends in Social Security, stay on top of legislative changes, and know how to best help our clients. Your attorney can help you figure out the reason for your denial and make a plan for a successful appeal.

Provide Additional Information and Documentation

In many cases, all you need for a successful appeal is more information. For the SSA to understand the extent of your disability and approve your application, you have to provide conclusive proof that your disability is severe enough to keep you from working. Lots of people underestimate just how much documentation is necessary. Your attorney will look over your application, find weak spots that may have led to denial, and determine which documentation you need to submit a stronger application. This may involve going to additional doctors or specialists.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Upon receiving a denial, applicants make a handful of common mistakes. Avoid these errors to save time and limit stress:

  • Giving up. Don’t give up! If you truly believe you deserve Social Security disability benefits, keep going with the process. Your patience and determination may ultimately be rewarded.
  • Restarting the process instead of appealing. Some applicants reapply in lieu of appealing their initial denial. This doesn’t hurt you, but it does waste time. You are essentially doing work you have already done, rather than continuing the process that you have already put time into.
  • Assuming that your current documentation shows the extent of your disability. If you have been disabled for a long time, you may have forgotten the multitude of ways in which your life has changed. You may assume that some of the routines and habits you have now are simply a normal part of daily life for everyone, rather than recognizing that many of the things you cannot do are due to your disability. This is something to discuss with your lawyer, as they can help you figure out which information to include to support your disability claim.
  • Doing it alone. People often choose to apply or deny an appeal alone, forgetting that they can hire representation whenever they choose. This one step can save substantial amounts of time, stress, and lost sleep.

Know the Process

To limit your own stress, you should know what the appeal process looks like. Discuss this when you meet for an initial consultation with your attorney. You want to know how long the appeal process takes, who will look over your appeal, and what additional data may be needed before they can make a decision on your appeal.

One reason as to why applicants who pursue their appeal to the administrative hearing stage often have more success is that these applicants often hire attorneys to represent them at the hearing.   Applicants are not required to be represented by an attorney at these hearings; however, having an attorney with expert knowledge of the law can ease anxiety for you and also substantially boost your chances of success.

If you are in the process of applying for SSDI benefits in Alabama after an injury or serious illness has made you unable to work, give yourself the best possible chances of approval by contacting the knowledgeable attorneys at The Dansby Law Firm for a consultation, at 334-834-7001.

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