Receiving a denial for your Social Security Disability Insurance application can be a disheartening experience. Many individuals rely on this support for their livelihood, and a rejection can cause significant stress. However, a denial does not signify the end of the road. There are several steps you can take to appeal the decision and potentially secure the benefits you need.
This article explains the steps to take after receiving a denial of your SSDI application.
Review the denial letter
The first step after receiving a denial is to carefully review the letter. The Social Security Administration provides specific reasons for the denial, and understanding these can guide your next steps. Common reasons include lack of medical evidence, the SSA believes you can work or your disability is not expected to last 12 months or result in death.
Collect additional evidence
The SSA often denies applications due to insufficient medical evidence. In this case, you can collect more comprehensive medical records, including test results, doctor’s reports and letters from medical professionals explaining your condition and its impact on your ability to work.
If you believe the SSA made an error in their decision, or you have additional evidence to support your claim, you can request a reconsideration. This process involves a complete review of your claim by an individual who did not take part in the initial decision. You need to submit the request within 60 days of receiving the denial.
Attend a hearing by an administrative law judge
If the reconsideration also results in a denial, you can request a hearing by an administrative law judge. At this hearing, you can present your case, bring witnesses and answer questions about your disability and its impact on your work ability.
Appeal to the Appeals Council
If the administrative law judge upholds the denial, you can take your appeal to the SSA’s Appeals Council. However, the Appeals Council can choose not to review your case if they believe the initial decision was correct.
File a lawsuit in federal court
As a final resort, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court. This step is the last level of the appeals process.
By understanding the steps to take after a denial, you can potentially secure the benefits you need. While the process can be complex, perseverance often proves to be worthwhile.