Conway SSDI Lawyers
When you are unable to work, you may be entitled to benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance fund. However, the agency often puts a number of hurdles in front of people who apply for benefits. You may need to go through an appeals process because Social Security will often deny benefits on the initial application.
The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of the term “disability” that you must meet to qualify for benefits. Not everyone can meet this test, and this is the reason why many claims are denied.
The SSA defines disability as having a condition severe enough that you are not able “to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering – for at least 12 months.” The SSA maintains a list of conditions that it considers severe enough to meet this definition. Even if your condition is not on the list, you can still qualify for disability benefits if the SSA finds that you cannot perform your past work.
The SSA does not just consider whether you could do the duties of your past work. To qualify for disability benefits, they must conclude that there is no other work that you could do with your disability. In some cases, they will deny benefits because they conclude that you can work in some capacity and thus, are not fully disabled.
Why Your Initial SSDI Claim May Be Denied
Here are some common reasons why applicants are denied SSDI benefits at first:
- There is insufficient medical evidence to support your claim of disability.
- You are still working and earning too much money to qualify for SSDI.
- You did not follow the treatment advice of doctors (thus, it’s argued you are partly responsible for your condition).
- You did not provide additional information that the SSA requested.
SSDI benefits are not always easy to get. The SSA is notorious for having a low initial acceptance rate, approving approximately 39 percent of first-time applications. The low approval rate does not mean that you should not apply. It does not cost you anything to apply for SSDI benefits, and you will never get them if you do not try.
If your initial application for Social Security disability benefits is denied, you should not lose hope. You have several levels of appeal available to you, and this is exactly where we come into the picture. We will work with you to file the strongest possible appeal because the initial benefit determination is far from the last word.
What follows are the different appeals that you can file when your Social Security benefits application is denied.
Your first step is to ask the Social Security Administration itself to reconsider its decision. When you file a request for reconsideration, you are asking for someone to review the initial decision. You have the ability to submit new evidence that can help your claim.
SSA policy is that someone different will review your claim, and it would not be the same person who initially denied it. You should have a lawyer working with you on the request for reconsideration.
Filing a request for reconsideration may be your best bet to getting benefits more quickly. The SSA promises an objective review, and this is the first level of appeal. However, only about 13 percent of requests for reconsideration are successful. Nonetheless, it takes far less time to have your claim reconsidered than it does to get a hearing date in front of a judge.
Your key to success in the reconsideration phase is to introduce new evidence that is necessary to shore up your claim and increase your chances for success. If your claim was denied in the first place, the chances are that the reviewer may have felt that something was missing (whether their opinion was right or wrong).
You may add the following to your file to have a better chance of winning:
- Additional medical evidence that supports your claim of disability
- A letter from your treating physicians that concludes that you are disabled and explains your disability
- Have your doctor fill out a Residual Functional Capacity that goes into more detail about your condition.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing
If your request for reconsideration is denied, you have the right to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. Although this judge is employed by the SSA, they are an independent and objective reviewer of your case.
The national success rate for ALJ hearings is just under 50 percent. However, you should not take this to mean that you have a 50-50 shot of winning. You do not know how many of the people who lost their cases were trying to represent themselves.
Hiring an experienced attorney helps your chance of prevailing at a hearing. The attorney would present your case to the judge, making arguments about why you really are disabled and deserve benefits.
Subsequent Stages of Review
If you do not win your appeal to the administrative law judge, you can seek review by the Appeals Council. However, they may not select your case for review if they find that the decision was in accordance with Social Security laws and regulations,
You can appeal your case to the federal appeals court. This court would review the decision to see if it was incorrect. It is difficult to win a case at the appeals court, but it is not impossible, and we will not hesitate to take your case there if we believe that the ALJ made a mistake.
Tips for Success in the SSDI Process
Here are some ways that you can increase your chances of success in your SSDI application, whether it is the initial application or the appeal:
- Closely review your application or filing at every step of the process.
- Supplement your application with any medical records as you receive them.
- Let your doctor know that you intend to file a claim for SSDI.
- Begin to work with an experienced Social Security disability benefits lawyer early in the process.
- Do not get discouraged if it takes time to get your benefits – many people have to fight the system to win.
If you are successful in appealing your denial, you will get back-dated benefits back to the first day that you filed your claim.
Call a Conway Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer
The law firm of Denton & Zachary helps you take on what may seem to you like a powerful system. The SSDI system can be much more navigable when you have an experienced attorney to advocate for you. To learn how we can help you, call us today at 501-273-1695 or send us a message online to schedule your free initial consultation.
SSDI Benefits FAQs
How much will an attorney cost me? I do not have the money to pay.
We receive a percentage of the money that you recover, and you do not need to pay us upfront.
Will I still owe money if I do not win my appeal?
No. We are only paid if you win.
What if I do not qualify for SSDI?
You can explore whether you are eligible for SSI benefits based on your own criteria.