Only about 45 percent of the people who apply for Social Security benefits are approved. While it can be extremely upsetting if you are denied, this scenario isn't unusual. The good news is that you have several options if you find yourself in this situation. A good social security disability lawyer can help you sort through the necessary paperwork and help to improve the odds that your application is approved the second time around.
What you can do if your first application for social security benefits is denied
If your social security disability benefits application is denied, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you four different methods of appeal.
- You can request that your initial application be reconsidered. These reviews are handled at a district level, but involve getting a medical evaluation from a different doctor or medical professional than was used on the initial application. Approximately five to ten percent of these appeals are approved for benefits.
- You can have an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) review your case. These judges are legal professionals who work directly with the SSA. You must request this hearing within 60 days of your denial letter.
- You can request your case be heard by the Appeals Council. If neither the review nor the hearing results in getting you approved for benefits, you can request that your case be heard in front of the SSA Appeals Council. However, if the Council feels you don't have a valid claim, they can dismiss your case without hearing your argument. This is a long shot. Only two to three percent of cases heard by the Appeals Council are approved for benefits.
- You can file a case in U.S. District Court. Your final method of appealing denied benefits is to have your case heard in front of a U.S. District Court judge. However, this can be an expensive and lengthy process. Although the District court sometimes reverses the ALJ or the Appeals Council, only about one-third of these types of cases result in approved benefits.
Hiring a good social security attorney like Law Offices Of Russell J. Goldsmith is a good idea whether you're just now applying or if you're appealing the Social Security Administration's initial decision. If they decide to take your case, most attorneys will work with you on a contingency basis. That means that they won't send you a bill until, and unless, they help you get your application approved and collect benefits for you.