If you get Denied for Disability in Florida and have to file an appeal

If you are pursuing disability benefits in Florida and have received notification of an SSI Denial or Social Security Disability Denial, you should not panic. The truth is simply that greater than seven out of ten claims are denied at the initial claim level, and more than eight out of ten claims are denied at the reconsideration level (this is the first appeal and it is also handled by a disability examiner at disability determination services).

Getting a denial, for the majority of claimants, is simply an acknowleged part of the process. What counts most, of course, is how a claimant responds to the notice of denial. And a proper response essentially boils down to:

A) Appealing the denial. You should always appeal the denial versus starting over and filing a new claim since a new claim will nearly always be denied again and will not move the case closer toward the opportunity for a social security hearing.

B) Filing the appeal quickly. There are two reasons for filing an appeal quickly. First of all, there is the fact that each appeal is subject to an appeal deadline. This deadline is 60 days from the date of the last denial notice, so the claimant should have plenty of time. However, getting the appeal sent in as soon as possible can avoid an unfortunate circumstance in which a person intended to submit a timely appeal and, for whatever reasons, missed the deadline.

The second reason for quickly filing an appeal, of course, is that the longer a claimant applying for disability in Florida waits, the more processing time they are adding to their case. Since there are two appeals between the disability application and the disability hearing, utilizing the full length of each appeal period (remember that each appeal period is 60 days) can add a cumulative total of four months of time to a disability case.

Essentially, this is completely wasted time and it is time that could be injurious to a person who desperately needs to get their disability benefits so that they support themselves.

If a claimant decides to file an appeal, the immediate issue will be who to contact first. This will depend on whether or not the claimant is represented. The following list of steps may help direct the individual who needs to file an appeal, depending on their representation status.

Filing a disability appeal when you have a disability attorney or a disability representative

If you receive a denial from the social security administration and have representation on your social security claim, contact your social security attorney or non-attorney disability representative immediatley. This individual will submit the necessary paperwork for your appeal.

If you were denied on the initial claim, your representative will send in a request for reconsideration appeal. This will include the appeal request form (form SSA-561-U2), the disability report form (form SSA-3441) and medical release forms that have been signed by you (form SSA-827) so that the disability examiner may request additional medical records if more documentation is needed.

If you were denied on a reconsideration appeal in Florida, your disability representative will send in a request for a disability hearing with a social security judge, i.e. a federal administrative law. This will include the appeal request form (HA-501), the disability report form (SSA-3441) and, once again, medical release forms (form SSA-827).

Your disability representative, prior to submitting the appeal, may call you to see if there is any updated information to address in the appeal submission, such as additional medical treatment sources, visits to your current doctors, changes in your condition, changes in the medications that you take, or changes in your diagnoses.

After the appeal has been submitted, your disability representative will generally send you copies of the appeal for your own records, while keeping a copy for their file (which often comes in handy in instances in which the social security administration claims not to have received the appeal).

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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