The first step to appealing a denied Social Security disability claim is to submit a request that your application be reconsidered. The reconsideration request needs to be submitted within 60 days of the original denial. Additional evidence of the claimant’s disability can be added to the application at this time for further review and consideration by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If the reconsideration request is denied
A Social Security Disability attorney can help individuals request a hearing before an administrative law judge. The attorney can help disabled workers present their case and provide any necessary evidence. This may include calling witnesses to testify about the disabled person’s physical or mental condition and explain why those conditions cause the person to be disabled under Social Security guidelines.
If the administrative law judge also denies the claim, disabled individuals can request that their application be reviewed by the appeals council. The council may approve the application, deny it, or remand the case back to the administrative law judge. Individuals who do not get another session before an administrative law judge or who disagree with the decision of the appeals council can then opt to file a federal lawsuit seeking court-ordered Social Security disability benefits.
Common reasons disability claims are denied
The SSA provides several reasons for denying claims. One of the most common reasons is that the injured party earns too much money to be considered disabled. Individuals can work and earn some income when applying for Social Security benefits, but the amount earned can’t be over the “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) amount.
The SSA may also deny a claim if the Administration believes the person’s impairment is not severe enough. The SSA might deny claims for acute trauma injuries because the injury will most likely not result in a disability lasting longer than 12 months. Each case is considered on its individual merits and the actual long-term effects of injuries are difficult to predict.
Individuals do not qualify for benefits if they are unable to work due to alcohol or drug use. If the disabling condition resulted from alcohol or drug use and would no longer prevent the person from working if they quit, the person’s claim may be denied. Cases involving drugs or alcohol are not all the same and a Social Security attorney can advise people based on their situation.