The vast majority of Social Security disability compensation claims are originally refused. This is due to several factors. Many applications that are first declined are later approved when you file an appeal. A skilled Social Security disability lawyer can assist you with the appeals process. You can learn more over here.
Did you know that just 36% of first disability petitions are approved by the Social Security Administration? The approval rate for the second level of review following an initial refusal is only 14%. While these numbers may appear discouraging, candidates who continue to appeal these decisions are more likely to be approved. Sixty-two percent of previously declined petitions are granted at the third level of appeal before an administrative law judge.
Understanding the appeal process
The SSA’s appeals process is divided into four stages:
- An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing
- Appeals Council review
- Federal court review
You have 60 days after receiving the SSA’s notice of refusal to request reconsideration. If you do not file a request within this time frame, it signifies you agree with the SSA’s judgment and will no longer pursue your claim.
The SSA will evaluate your full case after submitting your request for reconsideration. They will review their records and any new evidence you offer in your appeal.
If they refuse to review your request, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. After an ALJ hearing, the majority of refused claims are usually granted.
If the ALJ rejects your claim, you can ask the Appeals Council to reconsider the decision. If everything else fails, your only option is to take your case before a federal court judge. The ruling of the federal court is definitive and irreversible. You can also make a new claim but may lose certain benefits or become ineligible.
Here are some pointers to help you succeed in the disability reconsideration stage.
Be on time
The Social Security Administration (SSA) sends you a refusal letter if your application is denied. You have 60 days from the date of receipt of this letter to respond. You must submit your appeal in writing within this time frame. If you are delayed and file an appeal beyond the 60-day deadline, it will almost probably be refused.
Submit the proper documents.
When filing a reconsideration appeal, you must complete a certain form. This is referred to as Form SSA-561. You must also submit a Reconsideration Disability Report. This report supplements your original claim by providing fresh and pertinent information about your application.
A third form, Authorization to Disclose Information to the SSA, is also necessary when submitting for disability review. As the name implies, this medical release form authorizes the Social Security Administration (SSA) to examine your disability-related medical data.