Social Security Disability is not welfare benefits. You pay into the Social Security program to take advantage of a monthly benefit at retirement or to be used as an insurance benefit if you become disabled.
Your earnings under regular Social Security Disability claims are based on your earned work credits. It is a benefit you have earned if you are disabled. However, the Social Security Administration can be very tough when it comes to winning a disability claim. Here is how to respond if your disability claim has been denied.
Get Copies of Medical Reports
This is very helpful, especially if you have been ordered by the Social Security Administration to be examined by a doctor of their choosing to accompany your claim.
Many who have filed a disability claim and who have been sent to a doctor by the Social Security Administration have concerns about the actual examinations they went through and want to know what the doctor said. You have a right to see the reports and search for incorrect or biased information that is prejudiced against your claim.
Review the Denial Letter
You may find significant clues in the denial of disability benefits letter that can lead you in the right direction for seeking additional supporting evidence of your claim. Some of the information may indicate a lack of medical records.
If you ask for a list of records used in your claim, you may find a significant amount of information not included. This is especially true if the Social Security Administration had to obtain your records rather than you sending them in with your application. If you gather the records and other evidence needed, you can present it during the next step.
File for a Reconsideration
Get started on the appeal process immediately. You can file for a Reconsideration, and this can get you quicker results than a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge that can be delayed for up to two years!
What happens with a Reconsideration is that someone who was not involved in your original claim will review old and any new evidence. If you were lean on documented proof or witness statements, now is the time to present every scrap of supporting evidence you can find.
Keep Copies of Ongoing Medical Records
Instead of just letting all of your accumulating medical information be stored in doctors’ offices and hospitals in paper or electronic format, obtain copies of everything to keep for your own records. It is actually wise to start collecting the information long before a claim is made.
Medical records are not permanently kept. They can be lost or misplaced, agreements to provide them to the Social Security Administration may never actually occur, and more. If you have copies of every scan, x-ray, diagnosis, and prognosis, it is helpful to your disability claim evidence requirement. If you are waiting for a disability determination, keep copies of all ongoing medical information to be able to quickly use them in a Reconsideration if you are denied.
Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
If your Reconsideration is denied, you want to file an appeal to get a hearing before a Social Security Administration Administrative Law Judge. Be aware that the geographical location where you are filing may take up to two years to hear your appeal.
If you have opted to not have an attorney represent you up to this point, now is the time to retain legal counsel. The Ahlander Injury Law firm, with personal injury lawyers Las Vegas, notes that the “Average Wait Time Until Hearing Held Report” published by the Social Security Administration shows a wait time for a hearing in Las Vegas, Nevada is 17 months. The best approach is to retain expert legal counsel long before this stage of disability denial is reached.
The final level is to have a review by the Social Security Administration’s Appeal Council, then to file a lawsuit in federal district court. Hopefully, your disability claim will never reach this stage of appeal. If it does, you definitely want an expert on your side to navigate through the complicated system of Social Security Disability law.
Author information: Anica Oaks is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.