If you apply for Social Security Disability and your claim is refused, you should not give up hope of receiving the Social Security Disability benefits that you are rightfully entitled to. You still have the option disability appeal the decision.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that it is better to submit a new Social Security Disability application than it is to go on and file a petition for reconsideration. This is incorrect. Your claim is likely to be refused no matter how many times reapply if you merely return to the beginning of the process.
If your application is denied and you wish to receive Social Security Disability benefits, your best chance for success would be to file for reconsideration with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
How Does the Social Security Disability Appeal Process Work?
To initiate your appeal, you must complete a request for reconsideration form (form SSA 561), appeal disability report form (form SSA 3441), and sign a medical release form (form SSA 827). You have sixty-five days from the date of the notice of denial–typically stamped in the top corner of your note–to get your reconsideration appeal filed to your local Social Security office.
Determining the Disability Appeal
It’ll be electronically sent to a state disability agency responsible for making disability determinations for the Social Security Administration when the regional Social Security office gets your reconsideration appeal. Some states have their disability determinations made by one dedicated disability agency, while others have multiple agencies. In most states, the agency is referred to as the DDS or Disability Determination Services.
At the DDS, the procedure was employed to decide your initial case will be used to render a determination on your appeal, considering information related to your work history. For children, if the claim involves teacher questionnaires, school records, and reports of screening and IQ, these will substitute work history.
For adults, the disability examiner’s goal is to determine if the person can return to work–either in a job they previously had or t work they have not previously done but could be expected to do based on their education and skills.
For children, the disability examiner will review both medical and academic records to decide whether the child can perform what SSA refers to as age-appropriate activities.
The Disability Hearing Level Appeal
Most claimants, of course, will be refused during reconsideration. You appeal your reconsideration denial with a petition for a hearing before an administrative law judge.
To submit the request, you should complete a hearing appeal request (type SSA 501) and an appeal disability report form (form SSA 3441). You should return the relevant paperwork to your local Social Security office within the appeal period.
As with all appeals, after you submit the paperwork, you will be given notice. If this notice is not received by you, you need to contact the Social Security office to verify receipt of your appeal.
It is not unusual for paperwork to get lost or not be correctly matched with the file. Doing a status call in your appeal submission can resolve an issue before it becomes a problem. For instance, if you only learn months later that the SSA never received the appeal that you sent in and that, since your appeal time period has elapsed, you must start new disability application.
It could be months before you’re scheduled for an administrative law judge hearing when you submit your petition. You’ll be given a letter informing you of the date of your disability hearing, along with the place and the name of the administrative law judge who will hear your case.
Many hearings are conducted in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review or the ODAR. Due to space constraints and convenience, some hearings may be conducted at satellite locations. In some cases, due to problems in distance, the hearing officer may conduct a video hearing. Note: The claimant has the right to an in-person hearing and, therefore, can reject a video hearing in favor of a typical hearing.
How to Win an SSI Disability Appeal
In just about every instance, it makes more sense for a disability claimant to appeal their situation rather than filing a new disability claim (the exception to this rule is when their case was denied on a technicality). This is because when a claim is appealed, its chances of approval increase.
All disability appeals, both SSD and SSI, are evaluated exactly the exact same state agency that makes disability determinations about the claim for the SSA. This service is called disability determination services (DDS) in the majority of states, although its title may vary slightly from state to state.
Given the fact that the same agency renders a decision in the appeal as from the initial claim, some applicants wonder if appealing their claim is a waste of time, or if their case has a better chance of being approved.
The answer to this question is that is yes. It’s almost always in a claimant’s best interest to file an appeal. First of all, about 15% of all claims denied in the initial step is approved on appeal. The appeal to DDS, or request for reconsideration is also an opportunity to introduce new medical evidence that was not available or was for whatever reason omitted while the application was filed.
If you are of advanced age, or if your previous work history includes jobs that required physical exertion or certain repetitive movements (as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome), you stand an even better prospect of being approved for benefits on appeal.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Appeal for Disability?
There is no way to know precisely how long a disability appeal with the Social Security Administration will take. This is due to several factors.
First, disability cases do not have deadlines (despite the fact that the Social Security office often say an appeal takes approximately 90-120 days for processing).
Secondly, all cases are different as far as a claimant’s impairments and proof are concerned. Some conditions are easy to determine as disabled.
Third, if an incident is delegated to the DDS, examiner, or administrative law judge, that adds to their workload. Sometimes, examiner or judge handle ninety cases at a time.
The majority of states require that claimants that wish to appeal the first file a request for reconsideration with the state disability determination service, but a few states have stopped requiring this.
SSI Disability Appeal Status
Every review stage of the Social Security Disability (SSD) program and appeals process has different guidelines for assessing the appeal. Each step is regulated by a different entity, which can make it difficult to understand what to do.
Uncertainty is not just alleviated by checking in periodically on the status of your claim, but it also allows you to intervene if necessary. For example, if the application is in a holding pattern while the SSA waits from a specific doctor, then you can contact the doctor’s workplace to spur them to action. In the event the claim has stalled because of documentation which has been lost by the SSA office, you need to know sooner rather than later.