How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

What do You do if You get Denied for Disability in California?

This is not a trick question, just one with an obvious answer.

I've blogged about this topic frequently, but its always worth revisiting for one basic reason: many, many thousands of individuals who file for disability and then get denied fail to take the next, obvious, most practical, and most beneficial step. That is, they do not follow up by filing a disability appeal.

In fact, a recent article in a publication called the suburban Chicago news tells the story of a woman who worked as a health home aide until her heart problems and a spinal lesion made it impossible to continue working. She went to social security to apply for disability benefits, was denied as so many claimants are and then...apparently did nothing in the way of utilizing the Social Security Disability appeal process. This seems to be indicated by the fact that she apparently filed a new disability application the following year and another disability application the year after that.

As a disability examiner, it was impossible not to notice this phenomenon among claimants -- getting denied for disability and then not doing an appeal, but, instead, waiting until a later point to apply all over again.

Why? Who can say, really. My own suspicion is that a large percentage of these individuals, for one reason or another, fail to submit their disability appeal by the time limit (60 days plus 5 additional days allotted for mail time) and then, because of that, have no choice to start over with a new claim.

Which, in all likelihood, will simply get denied because it will be handled by the same agency--the state disability processing agency that handles disability decisions for the social security administration and which, in most states, is known as DDS--that previously handled the claim... versus being heard and evaluated by an administrative law judge who is not part of that same institutional (and inherently hostile) process.

However, it is also likely that many claimants who have been denied for disability in California fully intend to file a disability appeal and then for whatever reasons...fail to do so.

Here's the truth of the matter, though. There is absolutely no reason for missing a disability appeal deadline in 99 percent of all cases when the social security administration allows claimants two full months to submit an appeal. Yet it happens time and time again.

For this reason, I am strongly inclined to sharply agree with those who so vocally declare that no one should seek disability representation until they've requested a disability hearing, or even not at all.

Obviously, there are thousands upon thousands of disability claimants whose cases would have successfully moved forward in the system had they simply had a representative on record to handle their appeals for them. Yes, the filing of appeals is very simple; but the mere fact that so many claimants fail to do timely appeals is a strong argument for considering early representation on a claim. And the argument becomes much stronger when claimants are filing on the basis of medical impairments that significantly impair their mobility, impair their memory, impair their cognitive ability, or otherwise impair them mentally.

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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.