If you get Denied, File Your Social Security Disability Appeal Quickly

If you apply for disability benefits in Florida from the social security administration, either SSD (Social Security Disability) or SSI, and you get denied as roughly thirty percent of all claimants do, what should you do? The answer is not hard. You should, in the vast majority of cases, file an appeal. But you should also do something else. You should get your appeal filed as fast as humanly possible.

Why? Because even though SSA will give you two months time to get your appeal submitted, actually utilizing that two month period is not only pointless, but potentially financially injurious (the sooner you get through the process, the sooner you can draw benefits).

Amazingly, however, there are a great many claimants who will do exactly that. They will wait or procrastinate until their appeal period has nearly lapsed before either sending in their appeal themselves, or finding a disability representative to do it for them.

Why does this happen? I can only speculate. However, it is my opinion that, in many instances, getting denied for disability can be so disappointing and depressing to a claimant that the mere thought of pursuing their case further along simply seems oppressive---particularly if they heard horror stories regarding how long a disability claim can potentially take.

Here's what any claimant who has been denied in Florida should do. Immediately set in motion what needs to be done to appeal. Claimants who do not feel the need for representation should immediately contact their local social security office and request an appeal. And claimants who believe representation is something they would like should immediately set about the task of procuring representation.

And here are some pointers, albeit obvious, for each scenario.

1. An unrepresented claimant should contact social security regarding an appeal the very day they receive their notice of denial. They can file their appeal online, or they can ask for paper forms to be sent to them. If a paper appeal is filed, upon receiving their disability appeal paperwork, they should immediately complete it and return it, being mindful to keep a copy of the appeal for their own records. Not more than one week later, the unrepresented claimant who has sent in appeal paperwork should make a followup call to their social security office to verify whether or not the appeal has been received. If it hasn't, the claimant may wish to check again in several days.

2. A claimant who has decided that representation would be best should immediately begin to look for a prospective representative. Once a representative has been found and a new client interview has been conducted (typically by the disability lawyer or non-attorney representatives office staff), the claimant should work on getting their new client paperwork returned to their representative's office immediately.

Of course, if the interview was actually conducted at the representative's office, this won't be a concern. However, for claimants who were interviewed over the phone, receiving the new client paperwork in the mail may take several days and, thus, returning it to the representative's office should be a matter of high priority.

If you consider the fact that most applicants for disability will typically have to file two appeals (the request for reconsideration and the request for hearing) and that claimants are given 2 month deadlines to submit each appeal, its very easy to see that the potential exists for...wasting up to four months of time on a disability case. Therefore, to minimize the financial fallout of subsisting during the long wait for disability benefits, claimants should in all cases file their disability appeals...as fast as possible.

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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