When should you appeal a disability claim denial?
There are two ways to approach this issue. The first is "In which situations should you file an appeal of a disability denial?" The second approach concerns the time limit for filing a disability appeal.
Let's discuss situations for doing appeals first. In most cases, an appeal will be the thing to do if you want your case to move forward and you want to save time. In other words, if you get denied and instead of filing an appeal decide to start a new disability application, you should be advised that your case will most likely be denied again. That means wasted time and more total time before you finally get approved for benefits. Appeals are almost always preferable to doing a new claim.
Are there situations in which you should not do an appeal? Yes. If you were denied for disability because you were working and earning too much, it will not make sense to appeal this. If you were applying for SSI which takes into account assets and your assets were over the limit (currently the limit is $2000), then it wouldn't make sense to appeal this either. Finally, if you were denied because of failure to cooperate, such refusing to go to a scheduled medical exam, there is no point in filing an appeal.
Appeals should be done when your case was denied on the basis of the medical evidence.
Now, as to time limits, if your disability claim is denied for medical reasons, you should appeal as soon as you possibly can. You have a 60 day appeal period from the date of the denial letter to file a request for reconsideration. In fact, Social Security gives you an extra five days to account for mailing, so it is actually 65 days.
If your reconsideration appeal is denied, you have the same appeal period to file the next appeal, which is your Request for an Administrative Law Judge appeal. And, if your hearing is denied you can file an Appeals Council Review appeal.
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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