April 15, 2024
personal injury

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits serve as a vital lifeline for individuals unable to work due to disabilities, providing financial assistance to cover basic needs and medical expenses. Eligibility for SSD benefits is based on a stringent set of criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA), including the severity of the disability, job history, and ability to work.

Being denied Social Security Disability (SSD) can be a major setback, leaving you without essential financial support for yourself and your loved ones. Discover the top reasons for denials and find out how to navigate the appeals process with the assistance of our Alabama Social Security attorneys to claim the benefits you deserve.

Common Reasons for Denials

While the process to get Social Security Disability (SSD) might seem simple, several factors can lead to a denial. Reasons for this can vary from small mistakes in your paperwork to issues with your documentation. Below are some frequent causes for SSD benefits being denied:

  • Technical Errors in the Application: There may have been basic errors in the application such as incorrect personal information, missing signatures, or incomplete sections.
  • Lack of Sufficient Medical Evidence: The application lacks comprehensive medical records, detailed reports from treating physicians, or other necessary health information to prove the presence and extent of the disability. The SSA requires concrete evidence showing that the disability limits your ability to perform basic work activities.
  • Failure to Meet SSD Program Criteria: This includes insufficient work credits, the disability not being considered severe enough, or not having worked recently enough to qualify. For instance, in 2024, you need 40 work credits to qualify in most cases, with 20 earned in the last 10 years.
  • Disability Expected to Last Less Than 12 Months: If the condition you’re seeking SSD benefits for isn’t projected to last at least 12 months or lead to death, your application may be denied. The SSD program targets long-term disabilities, excluding those that are short-term or partial from qualification.

How to Appeal

Similar to a denial of a workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to challenge the decision on your SSD benefits. When appealing a claim, you must follow the process outlined by the SSA and meet the required deadlines. Working with a qualified SSD attorney from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can provide the support and guidance you need to obtain your benefits.

Here’s an overview of an appeal with the SSA:

StepTimelineDetailsForms/Links
Request for Reconsideration60 daysA non-biased party will review your request and original application. You can also request a non-medical review for denials not related to medical reasons.Online request for full review Online request for a non-medical reviewMail or fax Request for Reconsideration form
Hearing With a Judge60 days from reconsideration decisionIf the reconsideration is denied, you can present your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), possibly via video conference. New evidence and witnesses can be brought.Mail or fax Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge form
Review by the Appeals Council60 days from ALJ hearing decisionIf you disagree with the ALJ decision, you can ask for a review by the Appeals Council, which may decide to review, change the decision, or return it to an ALJ for further review.Online request for Appeals Council hearingMail or fax the Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order form
Federal Court ReviewFile a civil suit within 60 days of the Appeals Council decisionThe final step involves filing a lawsuit in a federal district court if you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or if your request for review is denied.Create a civil complaint with the help of your SSD attorney. This involves your legal counsel filing a complaint with the closest U.S. District Court, then mailing copies of the summons and complaint to the appropriate SSD General Council office.

The Importance of Medical Evidence

To prevent SSD denials and avoid the drawn-out appeal process, take preemptive measures. One of the most effective steps is engaging a seasoned SSD attorney. At The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers, our team is ready to assist you through the entire process, from ensuring timely submission to providing thorough medical documentation in your initial application.

We can help you gather the following so you can start receiving SSD as soon as possible:

  • Objective Medical Evidence: We prepare records from established medical sources to prove the existence of your disability. This includes diagnostic test results, medical imaging, and treatment notes from your healthcare providers.
  • Detailed Treatment History: We might include details such as the type, dosage, effectiveness, and side effects of your medication. This helps establish the severity of your impairment and its impact on your ability to function.
  • Impact on Functionality: It’s important to provide SSD with evidence of how your impairment affects your ability to perform work-related physical and mental activities. Statements from healthcare providers and nonmedical sources like family members or employers can help.
  • Consultative Examination (CE) Reports: If necessary, we can help you submit a CE report conducted by an SSA-approved medical source. The report will detail your impairment, including symptoms, diagnosis, and how it limits your functionality.
  • Evidence of Symptoms and Their Effects: We collect detailed information about the effects of your symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, on your daily life. This should cover the intensity, duration, and frequency of your symptoms, treatments attempted, and their effectiveness.

Get Help With Your SSD Claim

Securing SSD benefits can be challenging, but with support from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers, you can overcome these obstacles and obtain the financial assistance you need.  If you’ve been denied SSD benefits, don’t lose hope. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.

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