When you applied for disability benefits, you did everything right. You were required to submit medical and other information along with your application. The purpose of the additional information was to help prove that you are too disabled to work. In a matter of months, you were supposed to receive your disability payments after receiving approval. That’s not what happened.
The Social Security Administration, SSA, denied your disability application. The SSA only approves disability applications for individuals who meet the medical criteria. There’s one problem: you are eligible to receive disability benefits.
So, what should you do now? You have two options: file another application or appeal the denial. Jeffrey Preszler from Preszler Law explains that the appeals process can take a very long time. A lawyer can help you through the process and let you know what will work best in your specific case. Therefore, you need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you consult with your lawyer. The following points in this article will help you better understand what your next course of action should be.
What does it Mean if You Reapply?
To reapply means that you completed an application just like you did the first time. You submit the same evidence such as medical records that you submitted with your previous claim. You wait for a determination. Thus, you start the process all over again. The problem with this choice is that you’re stuck at the first step in the disability process. You could be denied again. This isn’t a good thing.
Should you reapply. In most situations, the answer is no. However, every disability claim is different. It’s important to speak with a disability lawyer about your claim. The only time reapplying is the best way to go is when your case falls into one of three categories:
- You waited too long to appeal. You have 60 days to appeal the SSA’s decision. If you let the deadline pass, you lose your right to appeal and must complete a new disability application.
- You have a different medical condition that when you initially filed your claim. This means that after your claim was denied, you medical condition worsened. You’ll have to include new information about your updated medical condition in a new disability application. Therefore, it may make sense to start the disability claim process all over again.
- A disability claims judge denied your appeal. You completed all the steps in the appeals process. However, a judge decided to uphold the SSA’s denial. You may need to reapply.
Your Next Step in Your Disability Denial Claim
There’s a fact about disability claims a lot of applicants don’t know. Most people are denied disability the first time they apply. These are people, like you, who are eligible to receive the benefits. Thus, you are in good company. However, you need your disability benefits yesterday. Applying for disability again won’t help you. Instead, you must appeal your denial.
What does it mean to Appeal a Denied Claim?
To appeal the SSA’s denial means that you continue the steps in the process to obtain your benefits. You are not starting the process again. You file your appeal prior to the 60-day deadline the SSA gives you. The reason why it makes sense to appeal is that you may have a better chance to receive disability payments during the appeals process.
Benefits of Appealing the Denial
One benefit of appealing the SSA’s denial is that you’ll receive a faster decision during the appeal process than waiting for a new application determination. Another benefit is increased acceptance. For example, the SSA receives numerous disability applications. Thus, your denial may have nothing to do with your evidence or eligibility. Your claim was one of many that were denied during that time.
By appealing the decision, you receive a second look. Part of the SSA appeals process is a new reviewer looks at your application. This is called a redetermination. This is law because the person over your claim can’t deny you a second time. However, if you reapply, there’s a chance you receive the same reviewer who denied you the first time.
It’s important to note that not everyone has their appeal overturned during the redetermination process. Your claim may be denied again. In fact, redetermination has approximately a 90 percent rate of upholding the initial denial. Fortunately, that’s only one part of the denial process.
The third benefit of appealing your denial is that your claim is moved further along in the process. This means you’re closer to obtaining disability benefits. During the next phase of the appeals process, you appear in front of a judge. The judge is called an administrative law judge, or ALJ judge. This is helpful because the ALJ judge will be able to see your medical limitations or understand, through your own words, why you need disability benefits.
It’s Helpful to have a Disability Lawyer During the Administrative Hearing
When you’re in the administrative phase of the denial process, it’s vital to have a disability lawyer representing you. A disability lawyer understands how to prepare your case and argue your case before an ALJ judge. In addition, a disability lawyer knows what to include as evidence. At the second level of the appeals process, you have the right to submit new evidence that the previous reviewers didn’t have when they made their determinations.
The success rate during the second phase of the denial process is higher. Approximately two-thirds of disability applicants who go in front of an administrative judge have the denial overturn. This doesn’t mean your denial will be automatically overturned. However, your chances are higher that you’ll receive your disability benefits at this phase of the process.
Many people are discouraged after receiving a disability denial that they don’t appeal to their decision. Maybe they make the mistake of reapplying or doing nothing at all. It is a long process, but it’s better to have a lawyer representing you than you represent yourself.