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
Social Security Denial - What should be done if your disability is denied?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1. Contact the local social security office where you initially filed your claim to request an appeal. This will prompt that office to send you the necessary forms, which will allow you to get them completed and submitted as soon as possible. How quickly should you get your disability appeal sent in? There is only one valid answer to that question: Immediately.
As a disability examiner, I found that a large percentage of claimants fail to get their appeals sent in timely and many do not even attempt to submit an appeal, but, instead, make the mistake of filing a new disability claim. However, new claims are generally not the wisest course of action since new claims are usually denied for the same reason as the prior claim. To maximize a claimant's chances of winning a social security disability or SSI claim, they should file an appeal, not file a new claim.
2. If you have representation, meaning a disability representative who can be either a disability lawyer or a non-attorney representative, contact that individual. The purpose of a representative on an SSD or SSI case is to represent your claim. That usually boils down to preparing your case for a hearing held by an adminstrative law judge. But even before a disability hearing takes place, a representative has the task of obtaining updates on your case, responding to requests for information from the social security administration and, of course, filing your appeals.
If you are represented by a disability attorney, you can still choose to file your own appeals. However, it usually makes little sense to do this. Also, by having your representative file your appeal paperwork, you can be sure that A) a copy of the appeal will be kept on file by your representative and B) a followup on the status of the disability appeal will be conduted at some point.
3. Make sure that your appeal is submitted before the deadline. SSA gives claimants a very generous appeal period in which to submit to an appeal. This timeframe is 60 days plus an additional five days for mail time, for a total of 65 days from the date of the denial notice (note: the appeal has to actually be received by social security by the 65th day, not simply mailed and postmarked on the 65th day).
Despite the generous timeframe, however, many claimants miss their appeal deadline. This is more unlikely to happen when a claimant is represented but since notices are sometimes not received by either a claimant or a representative, it is always a good idea to contact one's representative after a denial notice has been received. This ensures that both parties will "be on the same page" and that the appropriate course of action (submitting an appeal) can be taken.
4. Follow up on the appeal. It is not enough to simply send in an appeal. Ideally, you should always contact the social security office to verify that the appeal was actually received. There have been cases in which a claimant sent in an appeal and did not follow up the receipt of the appeal, having just assumed that it was received and processed...and then found out, months later, that it had never been received. In such cases, the claimant typically has to start again with a new claim, meaning that many months of valuable time have been wasted.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
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