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If you cannot work because of a medical condition, having your Social Security disability denied can be a stressful and frustrating experience. “If I cannot rely on disability benefits and have no income, how am I supposed to pay my bills?” you might wonder. It is understandable that you may have many questions when you receive the SSA’s denial letter.
Fortunately, you may still have a chance to get the disability benefits you deserve. If your disability claim was denied, our San Francisco, CA long-term disability claims attorney at The Law Office of Bennett M. Cohen, P.C., is here to help. With an office in San Francisco, California, we represent clients throughout the state and help them navigate the steps of the appeals process.
Common Reasons for Disability Denials
Not all people who receive a notification of the denial from the Social Security Administration (SSA) understand why their claim was denied. If you wonder, “Why was my disability claim denied?” you may need to read the SSA’s decision letter carefully because it typically contains the reason for the denial. Some of the most common reasons for disability denials include:
- Mistakes in the application form. Even a seemingly insignificant mistake or omission in the application form could result in the denial of your claim. There are numerous opportunities for potential mistakes when applying for disability benefits, which is why you’ll need the assistance of an experienced attorney when filling out the forms.
- Lack of evidence. When seeking disability benefits, you need to demonstrate convincing evidence to prove your disability. The SSA will usually refuse to approve a disability claim when the applicant fails to present sufficient evidence to prove their disability. Evidence that may strengthen your claim includes hospital records, prescription information, doctor’s reports, and even statements from family, friends, and coworkers.
- Failure to receive proper treatment. The SSA needs to be sure that you received proper and timely treatment before it will approve your claim for disability benefits. Thus, it is critical to follow the doctor’s orders to the letter and receive proper treatment when you become disabled and can no longer work.
- Too much income. Yes, your claim for disability benefits can be denied if your income exceeds a certain threshold. Even if you have too much income to apply for one Social Security program, you may still be eligible for another program. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for individuals who have worked long enough and paid taxes on their earnings. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for individuals with lower income and limited resources.
- Failure to cooperate. The applicant’s lack of cooperation with the SSA may also be a reason disability benefits are denied. If the SSA requests additional information, the applicant needs to provide the requested documentation and cooperate with the agency. Otherwise, your claim can be denied.
Regardless of the reasons for a denial, you may have a right to appeal a denied claim. Appealing a social security denial can be confusing, which is why you should reach out to a skilled attorney to help you through the appeals process.
Your Right to Appeal a Denied Claim
Denied Social Security disability claims are more common than you might think. According to the SSA’s website, denied disability claims averaged 67% between 2010 and 2019. But how to appeal an SSI or SSD denial when your claim for benefits is rejected? First of all, it is important to act quickly because you only have 60 days to exercise your right to appeal the SSA’s decision. There are four levels of appeal that you may need to go through to get your denied claim approved:
- Reconsideration. When you file a request for reconsideration, you ask your application for disability benefits to be reviewed by another case processor.
- Hearing. If your claim is denied through reconsideration, your next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. During the hearing, you will have an opportunity to clarify information and present new evidence or expert testimony.
- Appeals Council review. If the administrative law judge rejects your claim, you can appeal and request your claim to be reviewed by the Appeals Council.
- Federal court. If the Appeals Council rejects your claim, your last option for an appeal may be to file a civil lawsuit in a federal court.
At any of these levels, working with a knowledgeable attorney could significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Dealing with the denial can be frustrating, even emotionally devastating. You may feel as if the entire world is against you. However, you do not have to go through this alone. Contact a long-term disability claims attorney to help you navigate the appeals process.
Strong Legal Advocacy
If your claim for disability benefits was denied and you are not sure what to do and where to go next, our experienced attorney at The Law Office of Bennett M. Cohen, P.C., can help. We can help you exercise your right to appeal the SSA’s decision and represent your best interests at every step of the appeals process. Get a free case evaluation and discuss your situation by contacting our attorney today.