What Are Your Options if Your SSD Application is Denied?

by Staff | June 14th, 2021

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken a percentage of every paycheck you’ve ever earned. For most people, that money is paid back to them when they stop working in their 60s via Social Security retirement benefits. But some people can’t work until retirement age because injuries or illnesses end their careers early. Those people are eligible to tap into Social Security early by applying for disability benefits.

But unlike Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits aren’t automatic or guaranteed. In fact, the SSA is notorious for denying applications. Roughly two-thirds of first-time SSD applications are denied by the SSA, which has left millions of disabled Americans facing uncertain financial futures.

Given that you’ve got a 66% chance of having your initial SSD application denied, what are your options if this happens to you?

You Can Appeal the SSA’s Decision

To combat fraud, the SSA is strict when reviewing SSD applications. The smallest mistakes, omissions, or oversights can result in denials. And because the application requirements are lengthy and complex, it’s common for first-time applicants to make mistakes, resulting in denials. Thankfully, a denial isn’t the end of the road. For most applicants, it’s simply the beginning of an expected process.

Note that you must appeal the SSA’s decision within 60 days. There are four levels of appeal:

  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge
  • Review by the Appeals Council
  • Federal Court review

All relevant SSD forms, including forms for appealing the SSA’s decision, can be found on the SSA’s website at this link, and you can begin the appeal process here.

This online appeal application can take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes to complete, but you can return to a saved version of your application if you can’t complete it in a single sitting.

Yes, You Can Start the Appeal Process Before You Get a Lawyer

Although it’s a good idea to have an experienced Indiana Social Security Disability lawyer on your side as soon as possible, you don’t need one to appeal the SSA’s decision. You can complete that part of the process on your own, which is important if you’re unsure if you need a lawyer or are unable to find a lawyer before the deadline to appeal.

Getting the appeal process officially started on your own doesn’t mean you should proceed the rest of the way without an attorney, however. People who appeal without legal representation often run into the same issues they encountered when their applications were initially denied. In other words, the same errors, oversights, and omissions that resulted in denials can also cause their appeals to fail.

How Can a Lawyer Help with an Appeal?

Having a lawyer assist you from the onset when you decide to apply for SSD benefits can improve your chances of getting benefits on your first try, but not all applicants know or do this. No one expects to have their application denied, even when they know the odds are against them! But once a denial becomes reality, it’s important to do everything in your power to prevent your appeal from also being denied—and that means getting an experienced lawyer on your side.

SSD lawyers know how to complete all paperwork so that no information is missing or inaccurate. This step seems simple, but it’s one of the most common causes of denials. They also know how to prepare cases for hearings, which are common during the appeals process. During these hearings, applicants (or their legal representation) must be prepared to answer difficult questions, and unsatisfactory answers can mean yet another denial.

Let Us Take the Burden of the Appeal off Your Shoulders

You’re applying for SSD benefits—that means you’re too injured or sick to work. So why should you have to do all the work to get those benefits, especially when you know the deck is stacked against you? Let the experienced legal professionals at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin handle the paperwork and hearings for you, while you focus on getting much-needed rest and spending time with your family.

In addition to handling the nuts and bolts of your appeal, we can also help you get back pay, which is money that you’re entitled to receive for the time between your appeal being approved and the day your disability began. We’re in your corner all the way, and it’s our goal to help you get the fastest and best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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