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
If I am denied for disability from social security, what is the next immediate step to take?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Individuals who are denied for disability should obviously file an appeal with the social security administration. The appeal that is filed will depend on what level the social security disability or SSI claim was at when it was denied.
For a disability application, the next appeal to file will be a reconsideration, a request for reconsideration to be exact. The reconsideration is handled by a second disability examiner at the same state agency (known in most states as DDS, or disability determination services) where the application for disability was decided. And for all intents and purposes, this is the only substantial difference between the two claim levels.
In other words, the process is identical. Why is why, of course, most reconsideration appeals are denied as well (current statistics indicate that, nationwide, about 87 percent of recons are denied). Additionally, the fact that reconsideration appeals are typically evaluated within just a matter of weeks of the disability application being evaluated almost guarantees a subsequent denial. For the outcome to be different would be no less than disability determination services admitting that they had made a decisional mistake at the earlier level. And this only happens roughly 13 percent of the time.
In cases where the claim has been denied at the reconsideration level, the next appeal to file will be a request for a social security hearing. Filing the hearing request is very similar to filing the reconsideration request. The primary difference, however, is that instead of the claim being transferred to DDS to be assigned to a new disability examiner, the case is sent to the nearest disability hearing office. Typically, once there, the claim will sit for several months before it is actually assigned to a federal administrative law judge whose staff will begin the workup on the case to get it ready for the hearing.
As the case gets closer to becoming prepared for the hearing, the claimant and the claimant's social security attorney will be notified that the exhibit list has been compiled (a listing of everything in the disability file, marked as exhibits that can easily be referred to during the hearing). This is, in itself, an indication that the claimant's attorney can obtain a copy of the file for review (the file can be obtained at any time; however, this version of the file will include the exhibit menu). Following this, at some point, will be the actual notice of hearing that will include the name of the judge, the hearing location address, and the time, date, and place of the hearing.
Now, to address the specific question with which we started, which is "If I am denied for disability from social security, what is the next immediate step to take?", the answer will depend on whether or not the claimant is currently represented.
Claimants who are represented, upon receiving their notice of denial (notice of disapproved claim), should immediately contact their attorney. This is to A) let them know that a denial has been received (sometimes, the attorney does not get their copy first, and sometimes, as well, the attorney does not receive his copy at all) and B) let them know that the claimant has received their copy of the notice. At this point, a represented claimant will not need to do anything since the attorney will file the request for the appeal.
After filing the appeal, the attorney will usually send a copy of the appeal request to the claimant for their own records. Of course, if the claimant has had any recent or new medical treatment, this information should be transmitted to the attorney to better prepare them for the time when medical record updates are gathered for the hearing.
Claimants who are not represented should immediately contact SSA to notify them that the case will be appealed. This can be done online or by calling the SSA toll free line. However, it can also be done by contacting the local social security office. And this can be done by either visiting the social security office or by calling the office. For most claimants, since the local office will do the intake for the appeal (and will then transfer the appeal to either disability determination services or the hearing office, depending on the level of the claim), it probably makes more sense to contact the local office.
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Topics and Questions
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