If I Get Denied Twice For SSD or SSI Disability, What Do I Do?

There are two ways to answer the question of what to do when you've been denied for disability twice. And that is because a second denial can happen in one of two different ways.

If, by this question, a person means that they have:

1. filed a disability application,
2. gotten denied on the application,
3. filed a second disability (brand new) application, and
4. gotten denied on that new disability application,

--then the next course of action should be to file the first appeal that is available to them. This will be something known as a request for reconsideration, an appeal, that like an application for disability, is also decided by a disability examiner at disability determination services.

However, if by this question, a person means that they have filed a disability application, been denied, then filed a reconsideration appeal and then been denied on this, the next course of action should be to file the second appeal, which is a request for a disability hearing before an ALJ, or administrative law judge.

Evidence to prove the claim

With any claim for Social Security Disability or SSI disability, of course, you should have a past medical treatment history that is at least a few months old.

But, ideally, your medical record documentation should go far back enough to be able to prove the onset date (when you claim your disability began) you listed at the time of application. Onset date is a very important issue since it impacts when a person's coverage for medicare may begin and potentially how much they may receive in disability back pay.

In addition to older records, you will also need current medical records from an acceptable medical source (i.e. licensed or certified physicians, psychologists, podiatrists, etc.). Current medical records are medical records that are no older than ninety days old.

You will also help your chances of approval significantly if you have a treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition) who can provide medical treatment records for your disabling conditions.

If you do not have any medical treatment notes, or your medical treatment records are more than three months old, you most likely will have to attend a consultative examination, or CE, so that the disability examiner will have current medical information to make your disability determination.

On the whole, consultative examinations are rarely a true indicator of an individual's disabling condition, or what limitations the individual has as a result of their disabling condition. These doctors are independent, private practice physicians who are paid by Social Security to perform a brief perfunctory examination, just enough for the disability examiner to have a general status of your condition or conditions. Generally, consultative examinations do not lead to an approval for disability benefits.

Tips on filing your disability appeal

Without a doubt, if your disability claim is denied, you should appeal your disability denial. So many disability claimants give up and do not file an appeal only to find themselves starting the disability process all over again at a future date.

All disability claimants have sixty days, plus five days for mailing, to get their appeal submitted to Social Security. You can file your appeal online, or file a paper appeal. It really does not matter what method you use, the important thing is to file the appeal and file it timely. However, if you have a disability representative, either a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability advocate, contact that individual's office so they can file your appeal paperwork for you.

If you do not file your appeal timely, you may have to file a new disability claim if you cannot present an acceptable good cause reason for missing the appeal deadline. Do not be discouraged if your first appeal (reconsideration) is denied, because about eighty-five percent of those who file a reconsideration appeal are denied.

The trick to getting your disability claim approved if you are denied at the initial level (i.e. the disability application level) is to eventually get to an administrative law judge disability hearing. You can only do that by filing a reconsideration appeal first (the reconsideration is the first appeal). If your reconsideration is denied, you may then file a request for a disability hearing.

More people win a disability claim at a disability hearing than the initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal levels combined. More than sixty percent of all individuals who attend a disability hearing with representation are approved and awarded disability benefits.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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