What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
What Happens When You File A Second SSA Disability Claim?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If you are filing a second SSA disability claim, the chances are you did not appeal your initial disability denial or perhaps you have gone through the entire appeal process and were not approved for disability benefits.
If you did not appeal your initial disability claim denial, here is some advice: If your initial disability claim is denied, the best course to take is to file an appeal. The chances are, if your initial disability claim is denied that you are unlikely to be approved on multiple initial disability claims. The reason for this is fairly clear. The decision on the initial disability claim is made by a disability examiner at disability determination services, the state-level agency that makes claim decisions for the social security administration. Claimants who are denied on a claim and then file a brand new claim (as opposed to filing an appeal) will simply be subjected to the same evaluation process. The process does not change, and, therefore, the outcome does not change.
The goal in filing a disability claim is to win your disability benefits, and you cannot do that if you are constantly filing initial disability claims that are denied. Despite this fact, there are many claimants who never utilize the appeal process and, instead, simply file new claim after new claim after new claim. As a disability examiner, I frequently saw cases in which the claimant had filed as many as seventeen claims. In the time that had been consumed with these multiple new claims, the claimant could have A) filed a reconsideration appeal, and if that appeal had been denied (reconsiderations are usually denied) then B) filed a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge. At a hearing, the chances of approval can be exceedingly for those with competent representation; claimants with representation, in fact, have a better than sixty percent approval rate.
To appeal your initial disability claim, you need to submit a request a reconsideration. You can get the process started by simply contacting the local social security office at which point they will send you the appropriate forms. If you have representation, of course, your representative will take care of this. Whoever does the appeal, however, should complete the appeal paperwork (or online forms if the appeal is being done online) and return any necessary forms to Social Security.
If you file your appeal online, make sure to complete the disability report form (the form that gathers your medical and work information) as well as your online appeal form. Remember, it is important to return any necessary forms to SSA and within the appeal time period (appeals must always be submitted within sixty days from the date of the last denial).
Do not be discouraged if your reconsideration appeal is denied because the vast majority of these appeals are denied (in most states, more than 80 percent of reconsiderations are turned down), and generally they are just the next step toward an administrative law judge hearing. Administrative law judge disability hearings are the most "winnable" level of the Social Security disability process; as was previously stated, approximately two thirds of all disability applicants who appeal their disability claim to this level, and have representation, win their SSD or SSI disability benefits.
That takes care of those who failed to file an appeal of their initial disability claim. But what about those who have filed and gone through the appeal process, only to be denied at their disability hearing?
If you were denied at your administrative law judge disability hearing, you should consider what might have caused your claim to be denied. Some things you just cannot help such as your age. Some younger individuals with disabling impairments have a hard time winning disability benefits even at a disability hearing.
However, there are other individuals who are denied at their hearing because they were not prepared and could not convey a good picture of their disabling condition or conditions; or they decided to represent their own disability claim at their hearing while knowing absolutely nothing about Social Security disability medical and vocational disability guidelines.
Claimants who are denied at a hearing have several options. They can give up. They can take the next appeal step, which is the appeals council where the decisions of administrative law judges are reviewed. They can file a brand new disability application. Or, they can file a brand new disability application while simultaneously filing a request for an appeals council review of the judge's decision (often, this last choice is the best).
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials