What You Can Do When You Receive an SSDI or SSI Denial Letter

Have you applied for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI)?

Did you wait months and months to hear back only to see an SSI denial letter in your mailbox?

Did you know that up to seventy percent of claims are denied after your first application?

Claimants often have to go through the appeal process, just to get the benefits they deserve.  

Things to Avoid on Your Initial Application

Some things to avoid while going through your SSDI or SSI disability application:

  • Applying for disability while currently working: There are no rules against this, but the social security administration will look to see if you are able to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).  It is exceedingly difficult to make a clear case that you are disabled to a point where you cannot earn an income when you are currently working and earning an income. 
  • Applying for disability with a condition that is temporary: Your debilitating condition should be expected to last for more than a year if you are looking to apply for benefits. Your case may be harder to prove that you have a long-term ailment if you are applying too soon.
  • Keeping it too simple: Some applicants do not provide enough evidence to prove your case fully. A consultative exam, provided by the social security administration is not enough. Doctors letters, RFC’s, and medical records help significantly.
  • Not following the doctor’s directions:  Social security examiners will look into your history of treatments when considering your application. It is very important to follow treatments your doctor has recommended, even if that means it will improve your condition and possibly hurt your chances of being approved.
  • Not checking in with the experts:  Even if it is premature to hire an attorney (is it ever?) you can reach out for consultations.  Read their blogs, sign up for newsletters.  Get to know the process and your place in it.  

What to do if You Receive an SSI Denial Letter

After receiving your SSI denial letter, it is important to apply for an appeal. You have sixty days, with five days for mailing, to send this application in. The four levels of appeal are:

  • Reconsideration: You will fill out a request for reconsideration after you have received your denial.
  • Law judge hearing: This is optional for you. If you do however choose not to be seen by a judge in a live hearing, your appeal request will be determined by information strictly from your file.
  • Appeal council review: Next you can request the appeal council to review your case. During this time you can add any new evidence that may help out your case. The council can accept, deny or dismiss your request for review. If accepted you will then be sent back to a law judge hearing.
  • Federal court: Finally, if need be, you can file for a civil action. This is if the council denies your claim again. You will have sixty days to file for civil action which will then be taken to federal court. U.S district court will then be sent to review your case and make the final decision considering your claim.

Your final option, if you have gone through the previous steps and continue to be denied, is to simply reapply.

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