The letter comes in the mail and the first thing you see is "NOTICE OF DISAPPROVED CLAIM." You're not even sure what that means, but you figure it's not good.

Have you applied for Social Security Disability but your SSDI claim has been DENIED? If so, you’re in the right place.

As a New Orleans area disability attorney helping with Social Security claims nationwide, we help hard-working people in the same position as you every day.

Social Security disability benefits can be an important tool for helping those struggling with the effects of a serious physical or mental handicap to be able to support themselves and their families. Unfortunately, filing for these benefits can often be surprisingly challenging.

You are frustrated because you have submitted your medical records and answered all the questions SSA asked – but you have still been DENIED.

A denied claim is not the end of the road; you have the right to appeal.

The Single Biggest Mistake You Can Make with Your Social Security Disability Claim

It is not uncommon for some to file a new application for benefits after an SSDI denial, hoping to correct any mistakes they may have made on their first application.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware that this is the biggest mistake you can make when filing for SSDI benefits.

Do you need to apply for SSDI 3 times to get approved?

I recently read multiple comments on Facebook advising a poster who had her initial application denied to just keep reapplying.  The commenters all stated that you have to apply 3 times to get approved and qualify for benefits. 

I don't know where this myth came from, but it is FALSE.

When an application for benefits is denied, claimants have the right to begin the process of appealing the decision.

Why Should You Appeal Your Disability Denial

When you file an appeal, the appeals process can go through a number of different stages, though with the representation of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer, it is often possible to receive a favorable judgment at the first stage of appeal.

And if you are denied at the first stage of appeal a knowledgeable disability attorney can take you through all of the appeal steps.

Filing a new application complicates this process. Having multiple applications for the same individual can create problems for the Social Security Administration office and dramatically lengthen the amount of time it takes to process a disability claim.

Furthermore, if you cannot successfully determine what caused your application to be denied in the first place, you run the risk of having subsequent applications denied as well. 

Is there a simple mistake in your medical records that will cause your application to be denied each and every time? 

Is there something in your work history that needs to be explained?

In contrast, by choosing to appeal a denied claim, you can work with an attorney to help demonstrate more concretely to an administrative law judge the actual nature of your medical condition and how it prevents you from working. Face-to-face interaction is often key in helping to convince others that your disability is real and meaningful and that you deserve and qualify for receiving benefits.

If you choose to reapply instead of appealing, you will have to start the long application and appeal process over from the very beginning.

You may also permanently lose your right to back benefits.  I have seen this mistake cost clients thousands of dollars in back pay.

Do You Know Why Your Application Was Denied?

The first step to an appeal is knowing why your claim was denied.

The letter the SSA sent you to tell you that your SSDI claim was denied can provide you with some insight. But do you know what the letter means when it says – We have determined that you can perform your past work? What about when the letter says – We have determined that you are not disabled from performing work generally available in the region.

Do you know what you need to do to give yourself the best shot of succeeding in your appeal? Do you know what specific medical records can help establish that your disability meets a listing, and thus qualify you for social security disability? Do you how a medical source statement can be used to increase your chances of success on appeal dramatically?

An SSDI attorney familiar with the specific rules and laws of the social security system can be the difference between you getting disability benefits and not.

How Do You Appeal a Disability Denial?

Here’s how the process works:

Upon receiving your denial letter, you have 60 days to file a Request for Reconsideration (SSA Form SSA-561). This process is very similar to the initial application process.

If your reconsideration is denied (most are), you have 60 days to file a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (SSA Form HA-501). 

During the hearing, you will likely testify, you or your representative may call witnesses, and there may be governmental paid-for experts that testify. 

The testimonies and evidence in your claim file will be carefully reviewed, and a decision will then be made.

If the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)’s decision is still not favorable, you may appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. 

Similar to the ALJ, the Appeals Council will review all evidence in your case and either reach a decision itself or refer your case back to the ALJ. It’s important to point out that although the Appeals Court considers every request for review, it may decide to not consider your request and thus the ALJ’s decision will stand.

If you still disagree with the decision up to this point, your final step is to submit your case to Federal District Court for review. Here, at this final step in the process, a district court judge will review the evidence in the case and order a determination on whether the SSA‘s decision should be overturned.

Although the disability appeal process may seem long and cumbersome, it’s important to note that you do have the right to appeal your case. 

It is also important to note that you cannot skip any step.  That is, you cannot take your case straight to federal court if you are not happy with the initial decision.  You have to go to the ALJ first, then the Appeals Council, before getting to federal court.

How Long Do You Have to File Your Appeal?

Don't delay! You have only 60 days to appeal your disability denial.

Did you receive a denial letter and are unsure of the next steps?  We will review your denial letter with no cost and no obligation and give you a detailed strategy for moving forward.

Get Your Denial Letter Reviewed

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