Options after Social Security Disability is Denied in Illinois

If your Social Security Disability claim has been denied in the state of Illinois, you have three options. You can appeal your disability claim denial, file a new disability claim, or chose not to pursue your disability claim.

If you are still unable to work because of your disabling condition, there is no reason not to pursue disability. So you really have two choices--file an appeal or file a new disability claim. In my experience as a disability examiner, there is no reason to file a new claim if you are able to appeal your initial disability claim denial.

Statistically, you stand a better chance of being approved for disability benefits sooner if you use the Social Security Disability appeal process in Illinois rather than beginning again with a new disability claim. Brand new claims are practically guaranteed to be denied as was the case with the first claim.

And this is logical: if your disability claim decision was considered to be correct according to Social Security guidelines, a new and second disability claim would receive the same decision and you would be no closer to being approved for disability benefits.

The best option you have after your disability claim denial will almost always be an appeal. The only instances in which filing an appeal would be impractical would be when the initial claim denial happened as a result of a non-medical issue, such as the claimant being engaged in work activity, or having too much in assets. In such cases, there is no point in filing an appeal.

Resources a.k.a. assets, however, are only a consideration under the title 16 SSI program; under SSD, or Social Security Disability, an individual's assets will not prevent them from being eligible for disability benefit since SSD is based solely on insured status (basically, you are eligible for consideration if you worked long enough to become insured for benefits).

The first appeal - The request for reconsideration

Unfortunately, the first level of the appeal process in Illinois offers less of a chance for an approval than your initial disability claim. However, it is a necessary step to getting to what is your best chance of being approved for disability benefits.

What do we mean by this? If you are not approved at the reconsideration appeal (only 10 ' 15 percent are approved), your next appeal is a disability hearing appeal. Administrative law judge disability hearings offer the best chance of an approval for disability benefits. In fact, about sixty-five percent of all disability hearings result in an approval.

Filing appeals in Illinois

If you choose to appeal the denial of your disability claim, you can file your appeal online or through your local office. You are allowed a sixty-five day appeal period that begins with the date of your denial notice (sixty days "official days" plus the extra five they give you for the mailing of your decision letter) to get your appeal to Social Security.

If you have a disability lawyer or representative handling your case, they will make sure all of your appeals are filed timely. If you are handling your own appeal, make sure you file it timely; if your appeal is not filed on time you may have to begin the disability process again.

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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