What should I do if I was denied Social Security Disability for the second time?

What are my options if I get denied for disability for the second time?

This question could fit two very distinct scenarios in the Social Security Disability process. The first scenario would be your initial disability claim was denied and you filed a reconsideration appeal and it was denied as well. In this situation, you should file a hearing request if you still feel you are disabled to the point of being unable to perform SGA level work activity. It would be advisable to obtain the services of a disability lawyer or Social Security representative to help you with your case.

The fact of the matter is that you were not approved at the initial (disability application) or reconsideration levels of the disability process and that does indicate that the facts of your disability case are not an obvious approval for SSD or SSI. That being the case, you need to have someone who is familiar with Social Security case law and medical vocational guidelines to present your disability case to the administrative law judge in a way that is most favorable to your being approved for disability benefits.

The second scenario is that you have actually filed two separate initial disability claims and you have been denied both times. If this is your situation, you are wasting your time filing a new disability claim each time you are denied. You should instead file a reconsideration appeal if your last denial was received in the last 60 days. If not, you will need to file a new disability claim and get a decision.

If you are then approved for disability there is no need to consider another appeal, however if it is denied you should file your reconsideration appeal. Don't be discouraged if your reconsideration appeal is denied because historically the approval rate for reconsiderations is about 10%.

Reconsideration appeals are sent back to the same state disability agency for a review of the initial determination. The decision will very likely be the same even though a different disability examiner makes the decision. The reason for this is that the first disability specialist, or examiner, made an error or your disabling condition has worsened so significantly that it changes the original decision.

Whichever scenario fits your particular situation, the fact remains that your disability claim has been denied multiple times, so it may take a hearing with an administrative law judge to improve your chances of receiving an allowance for disability.

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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