According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), approximately 35 percent of disability appeals are approved for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
This percentage is a national average for the latest year available, 2010. The percentage of current disability appeals that are approved in your area may be different.
Why Disability Claims are Denied the First Time
If your initial claim was denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. However, it is important to understand why Social Security claims are denied in the first place so that you do not make the same mistake twice.
Note that you apply for each program individually using a separate application form. Here are several reasons why SSDI and/or SSI applications for benefits are denied:
- Lack of medical information: You must have medical records that prove your disability prevents you from being able to work.
- Technical errors on your application: You sent an incomplete form, made errors on the form (such as a transposed telephone number), or forgot to sign the application.
- Income is too high: You could be denied disability payments if you earn more than the “substantial gainful activity” amount, which is about $1,220 per month.
- Failure to follow medical treatment: Your disability benefits may be denied if you do not follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan.
- Incorrect contact information: If you move, change your phone number, or if your phone is disconnected, your claim may be denied because the SSA cannot reach you.
- Failure to grant medical record access: Your disability claim can be denied if you refuse to grant the SSA permission to review your medical records to investigate your claim.
You have the right to know why your disability claim was denied and to appeal a denied claim.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
How a Social Security Disability Lawyer on Our Team Helps with Your Appeal
After your claim has been denied, you may ask that your claim be reconsidered or request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). There may also be a vocational expert (VE) at the hearing. You are not required to hire a lawyer to represent you at a disability appeal hearing. However, there are several benefits to having an attorney represent you.
One of our Social Security Disability lawyers can help:
- Gather medical records to prove that your disability prevents you from working
- Secure written notes (opinions) from your doctor or specialist
- Obtain testimony by subject matter experts, such as your own VE consultant
- Prepare you for questions from the ALJ or the VE
- Identify weaknesses in the VE’s opinion
- Represent you to the ALJ in accordance with proper processing, deadlines, and decorum
It can be intimidating to speak before a judge. You could inadvertently jeopardize your appeal because you are understandably nervous or anxious. An attorney with our firm is a welcome ally for many people.
The Four Stages of a Social Security Disability Claim
According to the SSA, there are four stages for a disability claim:
- Reconsideration: A complete review of your initial claim is conducted by a different decision-maker.
- Hearing by an ALJ: You may introduce new medical evidence, testimony, and documentation when you appeal to an ALJ.
- Review by the Appeals Council: If your appeal was denied by the ALJ, you may ask the Social Security Appeals Council to reconsider or reverse this decision.
- Federal Court lawsuit: If you have exhausted the first three appeal options, you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court to seek disability payments through a judgment.
Understanding the Difference Between SSDI and SSI
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are different programs with separate requirements and applications.
The most striking differences between the two is explained in this chart.
|Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)||Supplemental Security Income (SSI)|
|Benefits based on income||Benefits based on need|
|Must prove disability prevents employment||Do not have to prove disability prevents employment|
|Other income or resources does not affect eligibility/benefits||Other income or resources does affect eligibility/benefits|
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Areas Our Firm Serves for Social Security Appeals Representation
Our legal team understands that you and your loved ones may be counting on Social Security disability benefits to pay the rent and put food on the table. Our lawyers are here to help with social security disability cases in the Pittsburg metropolitan area and in the following Ohio counties:
Was Your Social Security Disability Claim Denied? Let us Help with Your Appeal
The percentage of disability appeals that are approved doesn’t matter to us because our mission is to get you what you need.
A Social Security Disability attorney with Berger and Green can help you with your case. Call (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation.