What do you do if your Social Security Disability or SSI Claim is denied?

There is really no satisfactory answer to this question other than to appeal if your claim is denied. An appeal can be initiated by either contacting the social security administration (SSA), or by contacting your disability attorney if you are represented.

If you are represented by an attorney who specializes in SSD and SSI cases, your first action following a "notice of disapproved claim" (the denial notice) should be to contact the attorney.

SSA, if it has record of your attorney (and this would be the case if you have signed an appointment of representative form, SSA-1696, with the attorney and this form was then submitted to SSA by the attorney's office), will know to send the attorney a copy of the denial notice. However, the claimant who receives notification of a denial should always immediately contact their attorney for three reasons:

1) Sometimes, the social security administration will fail to notify one (or even both parties) of the denial action;

2) Sometimes, the notice will get lost in the mail;

3) Sometimes the claimant will get the notice of denial days before the attorney receives his or her copy.

After a disability attorney becomes aware of a denial, they will submit the appropriate appeal request, either on paper forms or online using the SSA website.

If the claim has been denied at the initial claim, or application, level, the attorney will submit what is known as a request for reconsideration. The reconsideration appeal will be sent to the social security office where the application was filed.

From there, it will be forwarded back to the same agency that made the decision on the application. In most states, this agency will be known as DDS, or disability determination services. At DDS, the claim will be assigned to a second disability examiner.

This type of appeal involves a process that is identical to what happens on the initial claim. The only substantial difference is that the reconsideration will be handled by a different disability examiner than the examiner who handled the case on the initial claim.

Other than that, the process is no different, aside from the fact that the reconsideration may not take as much time to process as the initial claim (because the medical records will have already been gathered for the initial claim and will be in the file and the initial claim decision will have occurred relatively recently, thus making all the case evidence still usable).

continued at: What Happens if a Social Security Disability or SSI Claims gets Denied on a Reconsideration 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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