If you’ve been denied a Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim, then you’re not alone. Many people don’t realize it, but the SSA denies almost 70% of all disability applications it receives each year. For many people, this denial is just the beginning, because there is an appeals process in place. However, many people who are initially denied make their case harder by making mistakes along the way. If you’ve been denied disability, then you should be aware of both what to do, and what not to do. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make after being denied an SSDI claim.
1) Failing to Appeal
One of the first mistakes many people make when denied disability is simply doing nothing. Maybe they don’t know this is an option, but failing to file an appeal is a huge mistake. Many people who are denied a claim actually wind up winning their case — but of course, this is impossible if people don’t file an appeal. The SSA has an appeals process in place because it recognizes that mistakes can be made. If you were denied a claim and truly think you need disability services, then you need to file an appeal and fight for what you deserve.
2) Filing a New Claim, Instead of an Appeal
Of course, if you’re going to do it, you need to do it right. The SSA lets people file new claims, and many applicants think this is the way to go. Simply put: it isn’t. What’s the point of filing a new claim? Logically speaking, a claim that is denied once is simply going to be denied again. This is why you need to file an appeal, which is a completely different thing than just simply filing a brand new claim.
3) Failing to Meet Deadlines
If you’re filing that appeal, then you need to make sure that you are keeping track of everything involved — and one of the main things to keep track of is deadlines. The SSA has a pre-determined deadline of 60 days from the date of the initial denial. That distinction is important. The window to appeal a decision does not begin when you open the letter from the SSA, but it begins when the decision is made. Considering that it usually takes some time to fill out the paperwork and gather the other necessary bits of information, this doesn’t leave you a lot of time to waste. So, if you’re going to file an appeal, start the process sooner, rather than later.
4) Failing to Provide More Information
If you’ve been denied a claim, that means that the information you provided did not provide enough evidence to prove your current disability and/or your long-term prognosis for that disability. This could be a result of a lack of medical evidence, or a lack of a true disability in the first place. Regardless of the reason, simply submitting the same information for your appeal is unlikely to yield a different result. If you couldn’t prove it the first time around, why would you be able to prove it the second time with the same information?
This is why it’s important to review all of documents you submitted before with an eye towards what gaps might exist in the information. What was missing before, and what can you do to provide that information now? Answering these two questions will go a long way towards strengthening your appeal.
5) Failing to Keep Track of Documents
Documentation is the key to your appeal, so whatever you do, don’t throw anything away! Often, people assume that once they’ve submitted information, they don’t need their records any more. You’ve gone through all the trouble to gather these records — why would you throw them away when there’s a chance you might need them again?
6) Failing to Secure Legal Representation
If you haven’t done so yet, now might be a good time to consider hiring a lawyer. Many people try to avoid legal representation because they think it will cost them a lot of money, but this simply isn’t the case. Because disability attorneys are paid only a government-regulated percentage of payments (with no money coming out of your pocket), an attorney is usually much more affordable than you would think.
For that relatively low price, you get a legal mind who is an expert in going through the appeals process. An attorney can look at your documents to help find what information might be missing, and he or she also usually knows how to find that information and compile a more thorough and convincing medical history. To put it plainly: having legal representation can greatly increase your chances of winning your appeal and securing the benefits you need for you and your family.
If you would like to know more about hiring legal representation, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!