The SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) programs are designed for those individuals who are unable to work due to a serious medical condition that limits their functioning for an extended period of time, such as for at least twelve months or more.
These programs offered by the Social Security Administration have very strict guidelines as to what is considered a total disability. They use a resource called the Blue Book to determine the level of your disability and if you meet the criteria within this guide.
The Social Security Administration renders decisions based on the available medical evidence that you present to them, and they may also collect medical evidence of their own if needed through scheduling you to see one of their doctors or specialists. You should provide as much information in your initial application as possible regarding your medical condition and functioning level.
The initial application that you file with the Social Security Administration has a 70% chance of being denied. Very few applications are approved during the initial stages. Once you receive a Social Security Disability denial letter, you can take the next steps.
The first step that you can take is filing a Request for Reconsideration. When you file your request, you can include any new medical evidence that may help your case, but you must also be aware that many of these requests are also denied at this stage. This is when you will need to file an appeal for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
After your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you can either file an appeal for a hearing on your own or retain the services of a Social Security Disability attorney who can file this form on your behalf. In many instances, retaining the services of an attorney can greatly help your case and can possibly improve your chances for approval during the process.
Once you file an appeal for a hearing before an ALJ, the wait times can vary as many areas are backlogged with many disability cases waiting for a hearing before the judge. Depending on where you live, this process can take anywhere from ninety days all the way to 18 months in order to be scheduled for a hearing.
You have sixty days from the date that you receive your letter of denial from the Social Security Administration to file your appeal, so it is important that you file your appeal within this time frame. Otherwise, you will have to begin the process over from the initial stages and will lose a great deal of time in getting your benefits.
If you have applied for and received a Social Security Disability denial, you may want to consider appealing your case with the help of a Social Security Disability attorney. Many cases have been approved and awarded when individuals have employed the services of a qualified attorney.