Do not panic if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your request for disability benefits. At this time, you can appeal the agency’s decision to reject your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. To do so, partner with a Ponca City Social Security Disability lawyer.
BDIW Law is an Oklahoma law firm with many years of Social Security Disability Insurance case experience. Our attorney can review your case and go over your legal options with you. To find out more, contact us today.
Why an SSDI Claim May Be Denied
In 2022, approximately 3 million people submitted an application for SSDI benefits, according to SSA. Among these submissions, 543,445 were approved. There are many reasons why requests for disability benefits get rejected, such as:
- Not Enough Medical Evidence: SSA finds that an applicant does not provide sufficient medical records to show that they meet its criteria for benefits.
- Multiple Applications in Progress: If you do not receive benefits as part of an initial application and prepare a second one, SSA may deny your follow-up submission.
- You Make Too Much Money: The agency will reject your request for benefits if you earn more than $1,550 per month as of 2024.
- Your Medical Condition Does Not Qualify: You may not get benefits if SSA finds you can work another job, even if you are dealing with a medical condition.
- Your Work History Is Too Short: Your request can be denied if you have not worked long enough or recently enough.
You have the opportunity to appeal SSA’s decision to decline your request for benefits. To make the most of this opportunity, hire an Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorney from BDIW Law. Get started today.
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Steps to Appeal an SSDI Claim Denial
Most SSDI requests are denied at the first level. A Social Security Disability lawyer in Oklahoma can file your appeal within 60 days of your rejection. They can walk you through the steps of the appeals process, which include the following:
1. Request for Reconsideration
A request for reconsideration represents the first option for appealing based on a medical or non-medical reason. You can submit your appeal online or mail the required documentation to your local Social Security office. An examiner then reviews your appeal and decides whether to reverse SSA’s original decision.
In instances where you request reconsideration based on medical reasons, fill out Form SSA-561. Along with this, you must submit Forms SSA-3441 (Disability Report – Appeal) and Form SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration). A Social Security Disability attorney in Oklahoma can help you complete these forms.
Form SSA-561 must also be submitted if you ask for reconsideration based on non-medical reasons. Instances wherein you can request a review of your denial of benefits for such reasons include if your disability application was denied because you did not work long enough or if you disagree that you earned too much. You must provide supporting documents to explain why the agency should reconsider its decision.
2. Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
If you do not agree with SSA’s response to your reconsideration request, you can ask for a hearing with an ALJ. You have up to 60 days from the date you are notified that your request for reconsideration was rejected to do so. You can request a hearing with a judge online or through mail or fax.
An ALJ hearing takes place via video meeting online, in person, or over the phone. During the hearing, the judge will look at the evidence you provide with your request. They will ask you questions about your medical condition and may request information from medical experts and other witnesses.
On average, it takes nearly 14 months to get a disability claim hearing in Oklahoma, according to research. An attorney can help you prepare for your hearing. They will make sure you know what to expect during the meeting and prepare an argument designed to convince an ALJ to rule in your favor.
3. Review by an Appeals Council
Even if you bring your request to an ALJ, there is no guarantee that you will get a favorable ruling. If you do not receive the result you want, you have the option to bring your case to SSA’s Appeals Council. From here, council members review what has happened with your claim to date and decide the best course of action.
You have up to 60 days from when you are told that an ALJ has rejected your request for benefits to go to the Appeals Council. Once you file your appeal and the council reviews your case, it can be remanded, which involves sending your case back to the ALJ who has already heard it. The group can also reverse a decision to deny your request for benefits.
In an Appeals Council review of your case, group members will consider the issues previously considered by the ALJ. You have the right to legal representation during a council assessment. Once it makes its decision, you will receive a copy of the group’s final action.
4. File a Lawsuit with a Federal Court
When all else fails, let a lawyer who understands what constitutes a disability file a claim with a federal court. This allows you to present your case to a federal judge. In the best-case scenario, the judge will agree with your claim and approve your request for benefits.
Prior to your federal court date, your attorney explains why SSDI claims get denied and helps you plan accordingly. Your lawyer puts together an argument backed by evidence and witness testimony. They discuss all potential outcomes of your trial and make sure you have realistic expectations about what can happen.
There is a 60-day limit for filing a civil action relating to a denied SSDI claim with a federal court, and this window opens when you are notified that the Appeals Council has rejected your request. To submit this appeal, you must provide SSA with copies of the complaint you filed and the summons issued by the court. Regardless of how your appeal turns out, there are no further options for review of your request for benefits beyond a hearing with a federal judge.
Appeal the Denial of Your SSDI Claim
If you have been denied SSDI benefits and want legal help, the team at BDIW Law is here for you. We can help you submit your appeal right away. To schedule a free case consultation, contact us today.
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