Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is one of the key government programs in the United States that helps people with disabilities. SSDI benefits help people who can’t find adequate employment due to an inability to make ends meet every month. To ensure transparency and integrity of the program, the state and federal authorities thoroughly scrutinize every SSDI application. This is done to ensure that no one defrauds the system to unfairly gain SSDI benefits. Unfortunately, this also means that many valid SSDI claims get rejected every year. One of the key reasons behind this is simply because a claimant doesn’t fulfill all the paperwork requirements. Mistakes like this can be easily remedied and you can then apply for an appeal against the denial. A disability lawyer in Columbia can help with the appeal process.
If your SSDI claim has been denied, don’t lose heart. Around 65% SSDI claims are initially denied. A huge number of SSDI claims get accepted the second or even the third time around after you appeal the denial. You should follow these steps when you face an SSDI claims denial.
Understand the Reasons for Denial
As stated above, the bulk of SSDI claims are turned down because of incomplete documentation. The medical records are incomplete, the employment records haven’t been included or you simply missed out another piece of vital documentation.
If your claim has been denied, you should seek the reasons for the denial. If the denial is because of missing information or documents, you can immensely improve your chances of success by submitting these documents. Important documents for the SSDI application include medical records, employment records as well as the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form.
Appeal the Decision
You may be tempted to file a second or even a third disability application. Don’t. Your claim has a far better chance of being accepted if you appeal against the initial denial. Such an appeal is made by filing a request for reconsideration of your SSDI application.
If you are unclear about the reasons of your initial denial, you should contact a qualified social security attorney before you file for appeal. The attorney will look into your case, review your application and pin down the flaws or gaps in the application. If there is missing information or other problems with the application, the attorney will also help you sort them out before filing an appeal.
Once an appeal has been filed, the next step is the hearing. Again, you have far better odds of success at a hearing if you have the help of an attorney on your side.
Attend the Hearing
The appeal against your SSDI claims denial is heard by an administrative law judge. At this appeal, you are given an opportunity to explain why you deserve disability benefits. You can bring your own witnesses to the hearing and present evidence to support your claim. You will also be cross-examined by medical and vocational experts. This examination is done to determine the extent of your medical and vocational limitations.
It is critically important to prepare for the hearing well in advance. The hearing will be your golden chance to have the initial denial overturned. This is why you will need all the legal help and advice at this stage. You should consider hiring a social security disability lawyer before the hearing.
Wait for the Verdict
After you appear before the administrative law judge, a decision is made about your SSDI claims application. The judge can either award you the benefits or uphold the initial denial. If the latter is the case, your review application goes to an Appeals Council. This Council will review your entire case and see if the administrative judge made the right decision.
Based on its assessment, the Appeals Council may then confirm the denial, overturn it or send your application back for reconsideration. You have little role to play at this stage as the Council will not consider any new evidence or listen to new testimony.
How Can a Disability Lawyer in Columbia, SC Help You?
When you face an SSDI claim denial, you need to understand the reasons behind the denial. The next step is to resolve the causes and then appeal against the denial. This entire procedure is fairly complex and delicate. If you don’t suitably prepare for the appeal and the subsequent hearing, you may be in for a second disappointment. This is why you need the help of a disability lawyer to resolve problems with your SSDI application and prepare for the hearing.
Finding a Disability Lawyer in Columbia, SC
Here at J. Robert Surface Attorney at Law, we have been handling SSDI claims cases for years. We help SSDI applicants seek the benefits they deserve by filing well-prepared applications. If your application has been turned down, contact our experienced lawyers today. You can discuss your case in a FREE consultation with our attorneys and gear up for the appeals process.