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Social Security Disability Denials and Appeals Process

When you have a disability that was not caused by an on-the-job injury, and you do not have private long term disability insurance, Social Security disability insurance is probably your best way to get disability benefits to allow you to pay your bill and make ends meet. However, getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is often not an easy task.

952313_gavelThe first step in the application process is to fill out a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. You submit this application to the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), along with your medical records and a doctor’s recommendation, and wait while hoping for the best.

As our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance benefits attorneys have seen all too often, the majority of these initial applications are denied. There is no real medical basis for the denial and finding a claimant was not disabled, and the claimant is simply told they will not be getting any disability benefits. At this point, the claimant can appeal if he or she wants to do so, and this is usually a good idea.   However, this is best done with the assistance of an experienced disability benefits attorney.

If you choose to appeal, the first thing to do is to file a written request for reconsideration. This first appeal is done on a peer review basis, meaning that another SSA employee at the same pay grade as the one who denied your application initially will review the denial to see if his or her coworkers properly denied your request for benefits. At this stage in the process, it is extremely unlikely that the denial will be overturned. Once you have been denied again, you can eventually get a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), to determine if you are entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

A recent article from FOX News looked that process and interviewed people to see if they decided to appeal the denial, or simply wait and submit another application at future date. The main reason people did not seem to want to appeal is that it can take over a year to get a hearing before an ALJ. One woman interviewed for the article said she worked at an auto supply firm for 13 years stocking heavy car parts, and it caused severe damage to body over time. She kept taking over-the-counter pain medicine until one day she woke up and could not move her arm at all.

Her condition got much worse over time, and she eventually applied for benefits. It is not mentioned whether she applied for workers’ compensation benefits, as this was a work-related injury, but when she applied for SSA, her application was denied. She fought for years and eventually got a judge who rules in favor of the claimants less than 20 percent of the time. She said the entire process was a “a joke.” After hearing this, many people say they would rather give up and apply again later. However, the best thing you can do in this situation is to speak to an experienced disability benefits attorney before making any decisions.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Social Security disability: Stay in line or start all over?, July 29, 2015, FOX News

More Blog Entries:

Social Security Disability Claims Process, Jan. 23, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog