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What should I do if my SSDI claim was denied?

The physical, emotional and financial effects of a disability are widespread. They can prevent you from participating in activities you used to love. And you and your family could face significant medical expenses while you cannot work.

Social Security Disability Benefits offer a valuable source of income for families in this situation. But, what do you do if your claim for benefits was denied?

Denied claims are common

Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies almost half of the claims they receive each year. However, that is no reason to feel discouraged. There are steps you can take to appeal and recover the benefits you deserve that do not involve filing another claim. 

1. Determine why the SSA denied your claim

The SSA usually sends a letter explaining why they denied a claim. There are many reasons they might do so, but they often include:

  • A lack of medical evidence
  • Earning too much income
  • Failing to follow treatment regimens
  • Missed deadlines or errors

It can be helpful to understand the denial before moving forward with an appeal. Then you can address that issue directly.

2. Ask the SSA for a reconsideration

After receiving the letter, you have 60 days to request a reconsideration. You can do this online—with the help of an attorney—or fill out an official request for the SSA to review your case. 

In this step, the SSA reviews your original application. Except this time, you can address what you disagree with and the reason the SSA denied your claim. It is also essential to provide clear evidence of your new claims or any new developments in your medical condition.

Many times, the SSA will approve a claim after this step.

3. Pursue an appeal

However, if the SSA denies your claim at the reconsideration stage, then you can:

  • Request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge: At the hearing, you provide the same argument as in the reconsideration. It is helpful to describe how the disability prevents you from working and how it impacts your daily life.
  • Request the Appeals Council to review your case: Administrative Law Judges approve nearly half of the cases they hear. However, if they deny your claim, you can request that the Appeals Council review your case. This can be a lengthy process, but fortunately, it is not usually necessary.

4. Consider speaking with an attorney

If the SSA denies your SSDI benefits, it can be helpful to speak with an experienced attorney. Appealing a denied claim can be complicated, but an attorney can help:

  • Answer any of your questions
  • Guide you through the process
  • Collect the evidence you need

You deserve SSDI benefits to help relieve the pressure a disability can put on your life. An attorney can make the process of recovering those benefits easier.

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