What to do (forms to complete) if you receive a Denial on a Social Security Disability or SSI Case

If you

Once your representative becomes aware that a denial has occurred on your case, they will (within the alloted deadline) send in the appropriate appeal forms. They should also make two copies, one for their file (this, of course, makes it much easier to track the development of the case since a paper trail and timeline can be established this way), and one to mail to you, the client, for your own records.

Note: if the 60 day deadline for the filing of the appeal is nearing its end and you still have not received your copy of the appeal paperwork, call your representative's office to make sure your appeal has not fallen through the cracks.

If you are not represented at the time that you receive
notification of a denial on a disability claim, then you should immediately contact your local social security office to request appeal forms, or visit the SSA website to file the appeal online. A third option, if it is convenient, would be to visit the local social security office to notify them of your intent to appeal, and to pick up the forms personally.

The most important thing to note with regard to appeals is that the appeal must be filed timely. This means that SSA must receive the appeal by the 65th day from the date of the denial notice (60 days to appeal, plus the extra five days that social security allows for mailing time) in one of their offices. If the appeal is not received by the 65th day, and the claimant does not have good cause for filing a late appeal, they will be forced to begin with a new claim (and lose valuable months of processing time on their case).

Which appeal forms to complete

Individuals who file their own appeals will be required to fill out a number of forms. Those who have been denied on a disability application will need to complete a form SSA-3441-bk. This is the disability report form, essentially the same form that was completed on the disability application; however, this one is used for an appeal. The claimant will also need to complete a form SSA-561-U2. This is the actual appeal, which in this case is called a Request for Reconsideration.

Along with these two forms (the SSA-3441-bk disability report and the SSA-561-U2 request for reconsideration), the claimant will need to submit signed release forms so that the social security administration can request medical records. Releases are known as form SSA-827.

Note: claimants who decide to do a reconsideration appeal online should remember to print out at least two SSA-827 forms and sign them. Without these releases, the social security office cannot transfer the appeal to Disability Determination Services where it would be assigned to a disability examiner for processing.

Those who have been denied on a reconsideration appeal and who are not represented will need to file the next appeal which is a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge. This means they will need to complete the disability report as well (form SSA-3441-bk) but also the actual request for the hearing, form HA-501 (Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge).

Again, as with the request for reconsideration appeal, this appeal should be submitted within the allotted appeal period (60 days plus five days for mailing from the date of the denial notice).

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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