High denial rates mean retaining a Tulsa, OK SSD attorney is critical.
It may not be welcome news if you cannot work due to a disabling medical condition, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) does deny benefits to applicants on a shockingly frequent basis. The percentage of people who are approved at the initial application stage averaged just 21 percent from 2010 to 2019. The final award rate for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is 31%, at an overall denial rate of 67%. Though the eligibility rules for the two programs vary, the approval rate for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications closely mirrors these figures.
However, a denial is not the end of the process when filing for SSDI or SSI disability benefits. SSA rules allow you to request that officials take another look at your application. Getting help from a Tulsa, OK Social Security disability lawyer increases your chances of getting your rightful claim approved through a series of steps, including:
Request for Reconsideration
You have 60 days after a denial to seek review of your application by an examiner who was not involved in the initial decision, in the event that something was missed in the first assessment. The claims examiner will be looking at the same factors, including:
- Medical Requirement: You only qualify for SSDI/SSI if you suffer from a disabling medical condition that impacts your ability to work, and which is expected to last more than one year.
- Other SSA Eligibility Rules: For SSDI, you need evidence showing that you have sufficient work history and paid into Social Security through deductions from your paycheck. Since SSI is a needs-based disability program, you must provide information that your income and assets fall below the designated threshold.
Most claims will not be approved upon reconsideration, unless you have new or additional information that was not included on the initial application. You must still file the request to move to the SSDI/SSI disability appeal stage. An administrative law judge (ALJ) presides over the disability hearing, during which you have the opportunity to prove the requirements for SSDI or SSI respectively. It is usually necessary to retain medical and vocational experts, since counsel for SSA will present evidence establishing why your claim should be denied.
SSA Appeals Council
While around 40% of claims are approved at the disability hearing stage, you may need to take the next step if the ALJ upholds the denial. You have another 60 days to file for review by the Appeals Council, which examines whether the ALJ erred.
Filing a Lawsuit
The next step after SSA denies your appeal is moving forward with litigation, at which point a federal judge will review all proceedings below to render a decision.
Get Legal Help from Our Tulsa, OK, SSD Lawyers
Our team at Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker is ready to support you through these and other tasks to ensure you receive the SSDI/SSI disability benefits you deserve. For more information on our legal services, please call 580-789-4936 or go online to speak to an Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney. We can schedule a free consultation to advise you on the appeals process.