Filing for Social Security Benefits after an accident or injury can be a complicated and arduous process. Interpreting the various SSA Regulations and researching whether your injury or claim meets the various requirements takes time and knowledge of disability law that leave most individuals feeling decidedly not up to the task. To top it off, over 60% of Social Security Disability Benefits claims filed in Florida are denied after the initial review.
If your SSDI claim has been denied it's important to know that you are entitled to legal representation that may be able to help. While individuals can file appeals to denials with the SSA directly, an experienced disability lawyer knows the ins and outs of the claims and appeal process. Submitting a complete appeal with detailed information that strictly adheres to the Social Security Administration's guidelines increases your chances of a successful outcome.
The Initial Claim Denial
Receiving an initial denial of your Social Security Disability Benefits claim should not give rise to panic in individual applicants. Most claims for benefits are denied after review of the initial application. The most common causes for denial of claims are due to missing, incomplete or mischaracterized evidence submitted as relates to your disability or impairment and its impact on your ability to perform your current or past work.
The Social Security Administration maintains a “listing of impairments” which includes highly detailed information relating to major bodily systems and conditions that are considered severe enough to qualify for benefits. One of the most common reasons for denial is failure of applicants to provide significant and detailed information from themselves and their medical provider as to how their condition fits into the SSA's impairments categories. In addition, applicants often fail to include information regarding their job role and statements from their employer regarding the lack of reasonable accommodation. While these are only two errors, they point out the level of detail required to submit a successful disability benefits claim in Florida.
Filing an Appeal
After your initial claims denial, you may file an appeal also known as a request for reconsideration. There are some key things you should know about the appeal/reconsideration process. First, after receipt of your denial of claims you will have just 60 days in which to file for reconsideration. If you miss this window you may lose your opportunity to appeal unless you can show good cause for the delay.
It's also important to know that winning a reconsideration or appeal is very unlikely. While a different Social Security Disability claims adjustor will review your case on appeal, unless additional evidence is presented or an obvious oversight occurred in the first review your claim will still be denied. Applicants should keep this in mind when submitting new medical or work-related evidence. Across the country only 10-15% of reconsiderations are granted.
Denial of Appeal and Next Steps
If both your initial appeal and motion for reconsideration have been denied, there's still hope in continuing in the appeal process for your disability benefits claim. After denial of your reconsideration appeal applicants may still request a disability hearing. While approval rates are low for both the initial claims and appeal process, at the hearing level over 60% of claims are approved after adequate evidence is presented and arguments are heard. At the hearing, an administrative law judge will review all the evidence, including prepared statements and will ask the applicant and other parties present detailed questions regarding their claim.
Don't Give Up on Your Disability Claim
One of the biggest mistakes applicants for social security disability benefits can make is giving up on their claim after the initial denial of their benefits application or denial at the reconsideration level. If claimants continue in the burdensome and lengthy process, positive outcomes are often achieved at the disability claims hearing. The appeal and claims process can take a great deal of time to pursue. Due to the backlog of cases at all levels of the disability claims system, it could be a year or more after the date of your initial impairment before your claim is finalized and benefits are granted.
Having a thorough, accurate and well documented claim submitted in the initial stages can help ensure the process proceeds as quickly and smoothly as possible. At the Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. our attorneys can help prepare your claim for disability benefits and will serve as your advocate throughout every stage of your claim. Call today for a free consultation of your case and find out the difference made by having experienced legal counsel in your corner.