Social Security Disability denied in Texas

If your claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is denied in Texas (and the vast majority, about 70% of those filed each year, are denied) then you should appeal the decision. And you should do this as soon as possible despite the fact that SSA allows an appeal deadline of 60 days from the date of your denial.

This first appeal is referred to as a request for reconsideration, and it is decided by the same agency that denied the initial application, the state disability determination services (DDS). Given the fact that the same organization that denied the initial application is in charge of reviewing the denial, the following statistic should not come as any surprise: about 81% of all reconsideration appeals are denied as well. This is true for disability claims filed in Texas and practically every other state.

So why bother appealing? Well, the purpose of filing a first appeal is not so much that it affords a claimant any real chance of winning at the first appeal level, but that it allows the claim to advance to the second level of appeal, which is far more likely to be decided in favor of the claimant. Second appeals are decided by federal administrative law judges (ALJs) who, though bound by the same Social Security rules as DDS examiners, have a lot more discretion when ruling on disability cases.

In addition, at a disability hearing claimants are afforded the opportunity to elaborate on both their symptoms and exactly how those symptoms prevent them from earning a living wage. Claimants also have the option to be represented by a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability representative (many of whom are former Social Security and DDS employees and have an indepth knowledge of how the system works) at their hearing, which can absolutely improve their chances of winning.

About 60% of all disability denials that occur at the first two levels of the system (disability application and reconsideration appeal) are overturned by ALJs when the claimants have legal representation.

Is it ever a good idea to forgo the appeal and simply start all over with a new claim? Rarely. Unless there is some highly significant new medical evidence, a new claim is likely to yield the exact same result as it did the first time around.

There are some exceptions, however. If your initial claim denial was based on a technicality, such as the fact that you had too many assets, or made too much money at the time, then a new claim makes sense (if your financial situation has worsened).

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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