When should you file a disability appeal?
This is a question that often comes up when a disability claim is denied. The best answer to this is that you should file an appeal if your SSDI or SSI disability claim is denied for a medical reason. If you receive a denial notice, you have a sixty-day period in which to file an appeal with Social Security. Social Security will allow an additional 5 days for mailing, but they must have it within that time period. You can file your appeal online, have your representative file your appeal, or you can download or pick up paper appeal forms to complete. No matter what method you determine is best to file your appeal, the appeal period is the same.
Filing an appeal of your SSDI and/or SSI denial protects your back payment of benefits, because the back payment of benefits is based upon on the filing date of your disability claim. If you let your appeal period go by, you have to file a new claim with a later filing date and that results in lost benefits.
There are times when you should not appeal because it will not change the decision. For example, if you are denied for SSDI due to lack of insured status there is no reason to appeal it.
Why? Unless you go back to work and earn more work credits, you will not gain insured status for disability again. There is a chance you could still be insured for retirement when you are of age. Or, if your SSDI claim was denied because you were working over the SGA limit (for example the 2019 SGA limit $1220.00 gross) the day you filed your claim. Note: current SGA limit.
If you stop working or reduce your earnings below the SGA level, you need to file a new disability claim rather than file a disability appeal. If you file for SSI, you should not bother with an appeal of an income or resource denial unless the information used to deny the claim is incorrect.
If your circumstances change down the road, you should file a new disability claim rather than an 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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