People often find the application process for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits overwhelming. Some people rush through because the process makes them nervous. Others assume that if they provide diagnostic information they don’t have to go into extensive detail, possibly setting themselves up for failure.
However you handled the process of initially applying, receiving a denial letter instead of notice that the Social Security Administration (SSA) approved your application can be a major disappointment. Many people feel hopeless when they learn they won’t soon start receiving SSDI benefits, but they still have options.
SSDI appeals are common and frequently successful. There are certain steps you need to take if you want to improve your chances of getting your benefits during an appeal.
Figure out what caused the denial
To pursue a successful appeal, you first have to understand why you didn’t qualify for benefits in the first place. Did you make a technical mistake with your application that you can easily correct? Did you fail to accurately explain your medical condition or to include medical documentation? Understanding the issue that led to your rejection will help you plan for a successful appeal.
Start the appeals process after addressing the underlying issues
Have you gotten more medical records or a statement from your physician? Have you corrected issues with the application itself? After identifying and correcting the issues that affected your application, you can start the appeals process.
The first stage is to ask for a reconsideration. A different SSA employee will look at your application to determine if you qualify because of a mistake during the first review.
If that is not successful, you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The hearing will give you an opportunity to present more evidence demonstrating how your medical condition affects your work ability or your daily life.
Keep your focus on long-term success
Letting your rejection notice put you off of appealing or handling your appeal in the same way that you handled the initial application won’t necessarily get you the results you want. Professional help is often necessary for navigating the complex world of SSDI appeals, especially if appeal efforts beyond a simple reconsideration are necessary.
Having an attorney advocate for you during a hearing can be instrumental. If you have to take your appeal a step further to the Appeals Council, the right help can be even more important. Keeping your focus on your long-term goal of connecting with benefits and hopefully backpay that will reimburse you for all of your unpaid SSDI benefits during this appeals process can motivate you to follow through with your appeal.