Disability appeals should be filed nearly everytime, and quickly

A page provided by an online publisher makes some very good points about appealing a Disability Denial of Social Security Benefits. It also makes some flubs and gives out some fairly useless advice about appealing a social security denial.

Where do I begin? One line of the page says (I'm paraphrasing) "If you don't truly have a condition that qualifies for disability benefits, don't waste your time by filing an appeal".

I have to admit I'm flumoxxed by this statement. How is a disability claimant supposed to discern whether or not they truly qualify for disability according to the rules of the social security administration when social security does not make an attempt to explain to claimants how the system works and what the various requirements for approval are? And why should they assume, if they've been denied for disability that the decision was a good one when so many claims that are appealed are later approved, i.e. the denials are overturned?

Here's the truth of the matter: if you get denied for disability, either SSD or SSI, you should appeal. Because though most claims get denied early in the process, the majority of claims that are appealed to the disability hearing level are also approved. It would be foolish to simply assume that a denial on a claim was made accurately and a claimant should never accept a denial on an initial claim as the final word. In fact, it's the rare instance in which appealing a disability denial will not make the most sense.

Another statement made by the publisher's page that I'd like to take issue with is this (again, I'm paraphrasing): "In many instances, your disability appeal should only require explaining why the information you originally presented on your disability application really does qualify you for disability benefits".

From the standpoint of actually having worked on disability cases as an examiner, I can say that this is a completely ignorant statement. Guess what, if you file your first appeal (a request for reconsideration) and provide no new information regarding your condition, you will simply be denied again. Now, the truth is, if you do provide additional information you will, most likely, also be denied again, simply because more than 80 percent of first appeals are turned down. However, filing an appeal with no new information and using the appeal as an opportunity to explain why you think you should have been approved the first time...will not result in an approval on the appeal.

You really have to wonder where people come up with this sort of information, you really do. This type of information simply does not help applicants and recipients. And this is why my positions will always be the following:

1. If you receive disability benefits and have a question, call your local social security office. Don't rely on information from a friend, neighbor, or relative. They won't be able to give you a proper answer.

2. If you receive a disability denial and have to request a disability hearing get a representative. It would be foolish to try to represent your own case before an administrative law judge.

3. If you get denied for disability, always appeal and do it immediately, well before the 60 day deadline to file your appeal passes.

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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