Should you appeal a disability denial if your condition is improving?

Before we address the question of one's condition improving, we should first make a statement about the usefullness of appeals. You should nearly always appeal your claim if you receive a denial of either Social Security Disability or SSI benefits. There are a few instances in which a person shouldn't, but those are very limited (such as when a claim was denied for technical reasons that had nothing to do with their medical conditions and their medical records were not even obtained and evaluated).


The Odds of Winning on appeal
Odds of winning disability depend on the appeal level of your claim
Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels

However, in most cases, a claim will be denied on the basis that the individual can return to work activity and that decision will be something that can be appealed once, twice, or even three times. In a large percentage of claims, a case that was previously denied at the application level will be approved on the first appeal or by a judge at a hearing. So, generally speaking, it is foolish not to appeal a denial.

Should you appeal a denial of your Social Security Disability or SSI claim even if your medical or mental condition is improving? With disability claims, its sometimes difficult to answer questions in a general fashion---this is especially true when it comes to payment scenarios since there are usually a large number of variables and the likelihood for miscommunication is high (when it comes to payment issues, you should contact your local social security office).

However, with regard to this specific question, the answer will almost always be...yes.

And here's why. Many claimants who file for disability benefits have conditions that exacerbate and remiss. That is, they get better and then they get worse, and sometimes this cycle keeps repeating. This is often true of cases involving fibromyalgia, back complaints, lupus, MS, depression, etc.

Because of the alternating nature (exacerbation and remission) of certain impairments, disability claimants should really think twice about giving up on an SSD or SSI claim when it seems as though their condition is improving---for the simple reason that their condition may unexpectedly get worse later.

What happens if you choose not to file an appeal on a claim within the time frame allotted (you have 60 days to file an appeal from the date of your last denial)? You will be forced to start over with a brand new application, which may needlessly consume several more months of waiting.


When to appeal a disability denial
The first appeal in a Social Security Disability or SSI case
When to appeal Social Security Disability or SSI
Social Security Disability SSI appeals

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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