Appeal Your Denied Disability Benefits Claim - The Request For Reconsideration
If you have filed a Social Security disability benefits claim and it has been denied, or if you have been receiving benefits and have been notified that they will end or that the amount of the payments will be reduced, you will most likely want to appeal your denied disability benefits claim.
There is a fairly popular myth around that states that the Social Security Administration denies each and every initial application as a matter of course, in order to weed out false claims and keep the amount of benefits paid out as low as possible. This is untrue. Actually, about sixty percent of initial claims are denied, and five percent of appeals are granted. The high number of initial claims rejection would probably be considerably reduced if all applicants were to provide complete information on their initial claim application.
A disability appeal is technically known as a request for reconsideration. There are no costs for filing such a request. Information regarding how to appeal will be enclosed with the notice from Social Security terminating or denying the benefit payments. You have sixty days from the day that you receive the notice to file your appeal, and the SSA will assume that the envelope containing the notice arrived five days after it was sent, unless you can prove otherwise. Should you miss the sixty day deadline, you are allowed to begin over with a new initial claim. However, this will delay the ultimate resolution, so try to file within the sixty day period if at all possible.
Just call your Social Security office and let them know that you'll be appealing their decision. They'll send out the forms you need and include information on where to send them when completed. Be sure to explain your situation exactly when you call, as different types of claim denial require different forms. A request for consideration of an inital claim denial by the Disability Determination Service may be complete in as little as a couple of weeks or can take as long as six months, depending on the need for additional information and the caseload of the DDS.
If you decide to appeal the SSA's decision, you'd be well advised to review your file at the DDS at the time you file your appeal. Check it out carefully and include any missing information while also correcting any innacuracies. The examiners must include any additional information you provide. You are not allowed to write on the records in the file or place any new information in there yourself - just give it to the examiner and request that they do it for you.
Should your first appeal also be denied, you can continued to request further reconsideration. The next would be with an administrative law judge, followed by what's called the SSA Appeals Council, and lastly with a federal district court judge.
This has been a quick overview of how to appeal your denied disability benefits claim. The procedure is much more involved than what's been presented here and we don't have room in this article to cover all the possibilities, but this info should be enough to get you started on the right track. You'll want to do additional online research and/or pick up one of the handy guides to Social Security Disability offered by a number of book publishers.