Navigating The SSD Appeals Process
If your Social Security Disability (SSD) application has been denied, you are far from alone. On average, more than half of all SSD applications are denied the first time around.
This is where Whiting Law can help. Following are answers to some commonly asked questions and our suggestions for a successful SSD application or appeals process.
Who Can Apply For SSD?
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability is as follows:
- You cannot perform the work you performed before you became disabled
- The SSA has decided that your medical condition prevents you from performing another kind of work AND
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in your death
How Do I Apply For SSD?
The SSA recommends beginning the application process as soon as you become disabled. You may apply for SSD benefits online, over the phone, or in-person at your local office.
If you are applying online (which is the quickest method) be sure to print and review the application before completing it online, that way you’ll know ahead of time what kind of information you will need to provide. If you do opt to apply at a local office, call ahead to reserve an appointment time.
What If My Doctor Does Not Support My Claim?
Be sure to inform your doctor when you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits. If your doctor does not support your application, make sure they have the complete picture of your current state as well as a thorough medical history.
If you still cannot get their support after providing all of the necessary information, you may choose to seek a second opinion.
What Are Some Common Reasons For SSD Denial?
- The application has insufficient information. People applying for Social Security disability benefits should review the SSD application checklist provided by the Social Security Administration before beginning the application process. It’s important to make sure all areas of the application are complete and all information requested (medical records, treatment information, employment history, etc.) are provided in full.
- The applicant does not meet non-medical requirements. If a person’s income is too high or they do not have the minimum required work credits, their SSD application will be denied.
- The medical condition does not qualify. If a medical condition is not severe or long-lasting enough, the applicant will not qualify for benefits. A qualifying disability has to have lasted or be expected to last at least a year or to result in death.
- The applicant is uncooperative. A person who does not comply with the treatment prescribed by their doctor or provide medical records requested by the SSA, can expect their application to be denied. Throughout the application process, if any updated medical information becomes available, it should be provided to the SSA in a timely manner.
- The disability is primarily caused by drug or alcohol abuse. If someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol and therefore unable to work, or has a condition that would improve if they quit using drugs or alcohol, they cannot receive SSD benefits.
- There is insufficient medical evidence. In cases where there is not enough medical evidence to prove a person is unable to work, the applicant should work closely with their doctors during the appeals process to ensure proper evidence is provided.
- The applicant is a convict. SSD benefits cannot be provided to a person who is incarcerated. For someone on parole or probation, any violation of their terms could result in a loss of benefits.
What Do I Do If I’m Denied SSD?
- Step 1: If your application has been denied hire an experienced Whiting Law SSD attorney so you can understand why you were denied and build a strong case for your appeals process.
- Step 2: Once you understand why your application was denied, your attorney can help you understand if you will be able to file an appeal, and then assist you through the entire appeal process.
If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied and you are filing an appeal, you should do so as soon as possible, and certainly within 60 days. Here are some ways to help your SSD appeal process:
- Hire an experienced SSD attorney
- Continue regular treatment with your medical providers
- Comply with providers’ recommendations for your treatment
- Provide continual updates on your treatment to the SSA whenever new information is available.
- Keep open communication with the SSA about the status of your case with the Appeals Council.
Applying for SSD or filing an appeal can be overwhelming. Our attorneys have extensive experience with every step of the Social Security Disability benefits process, from the initial application through the appeals process.