A vast majority of the applications for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied. This is for a variety of reasons. Many of the initially denied applications are later successful after you file an appeal against the denial. A qualified Social Security disability attorney can help you with the appeals process.
The appeals process itself comprises several stages. These stages are different levels at which you can appeal against the denial of your application. The first of these stages is disability reconsideration. This stage is not very different from the initial application although there are some key differences. Here are some tips you can use to improve your odds of success at the disability reconsideration stage.
1. File a Timely Appeal
Social Security Administration (SSA) communicates the denial of your application in the form of a denial letter. Once you receive this letter, you have 60 days from the date stated on the letter. It is important to submit your appeal in writing within this period. If you are delayed and submit an appeal after the 60-day window, your appeal will almost certainly be denied.
2. Submit the Right Paperwork
When you are filing a reconsideration appeal, you are required to submit a specific form. This is known as the Form SSA-561. In addition, you must also provide a Reconsideration Disability Report. This report essentially augments your original claim by furnishing new and relevant information pertaining to your application.
A third form that is also required when filing for disability reconsideration is Authorization to Disclose Information to the SSA. As the name suggests, this is a medical release form that allows SSA to access the medical records related to your disability.
3. Draft an Effective Appeals Letter
When you submit the designated SSA forms, you have only a few lines to provide your viewpoint on why the denial was not fair. However, you may want to provide a more detailed view of how SSA’s reasons for denying your application were not right. This can be done by drafting an effective appeals letter and submitting this letter alongside the SSA form. You can also state ‘see attached page’ on the form so that the SSA personnel who receive the form do not miss the letter.
4. Provide Additional Medical Evidence
Medical records and evidence play a central role in determining the outcome of your disability benefits application. If your initial application has been denied, it is important that you submit additional medical evidence and documentation when filing for Disability Reconsideration.
This additional evidence may make all the difference and help you win your claim at the reconsideration stage. You can discuss your initial denial with your treating physician and see what types of medical evidence may be best to provide when filing the appeal.
5. Be Honest and Transparent
It is always a good idea to be completely honest and transparent when presenting your viewpoint and evidence for a Social Security disability application. This also applies during the reconsideration process. You should present a realistic view of your medical condition and the limitations imposed by it. Any ambiguity or dishonesty on your part as an applicant can not only damage your odds of success at this stage, it can also harm your chances of success at subsequent levels of appeal.
6. Get a Written Opinion From Your Doctor
Your doctor can provide an in-depth view of the nature and severity of your medical conditions, as well as the limitations imposed by them. You can ask your doctor to put this opinion in writing. This letter can then be provided as a part of the medical evidence. Although a letter from your doctor may make some difference at the Disability Reconsideration stage, it has a more significant impact if your appeal goes to the hearing stage.
7. Hire a Reliable Attorney
A qualified Social Security disability lawyer can help you in filling and submitting SSA forms, gathering relevant evidence, as well as managing other activities related to your appeal. On your own, you may feel overwhelmed given the complexity of the process. With a lawyer by your side, you are able to avoid any mistakes and ensure that you file an appeal without wasting any time.
Hiring a Reliable Social Security Lawyer in Greenville, SC
If your disability application has been denied at the initial stage, we can help you. Here at the Surface Law Firm, we help applicants seeking Social Security disability benefits. Our lawyers work with you before, during, and after the initial claim. If your claim is turned down, we help you file the appeal in time or take your case to a hearing if needed. Reach out to us today to discuss your Greenville disability application with our lawyers.