Social Security Disability, or SSD, is meant to protect and support people who have become disabled and cannot work. Sometimes, however, requests are denied. When this happens, you must appeal to a higher authority. In this article, we will discuss which people qualify for benefits, common reasons benefits are denied, and how to appeal a denial.
To receive SSD, you must have worked and contributed to Social Security in the past. If you have never been employed, or you worked in a cash-only business with no contributions, you must find other ways to receive disability benefits when you need them.
Applicants may be employed, but the job must bring in a low income. To receive benefits, you cannot make more than $1,310 a month.
You must also prove that your illness or injury is severe, and it impedes your ability to work. Moreover, you must be hindered for some time. If you’ve been disabled for 12 months or more, you may qualify for SSD.
Why Is SSD Denied?
There Were Mistakes in the Application
Sometimes, the smallest errors can have large consequences. Simply filling out a form incorrectly could disqualify you for benefits. Minor clerical could force you to begin the process all over.
Another common mistake is leaving out important records. The Social Security office needs to see your medical and job history to make a determination. You may believe that you included all the necessary documents, forgetting one thing or another.
Before you apply, have a legal professional overlook your application. They may be able to catch errors or notice missing information. They could offer suggestions of paperwork you could add to your application. Sometimes, using more documentation than is necessary can help bolster your argument for benefits.
Your Income Is Too High
Recall that to receive SSD, you must have little to no income. An income just over the cutoff amount may disqualify you. Discuss your options with an attorney. They may be able to help you create a plan that can make you eligible for benefits.
Your Work Has Not Been Hindered for Long Enough
Remember that qualified applicants must have had their work hindered for at least 12 months. Anything less than that, and you cannot collect benefits. One year is a long time to have your income cut off. Talk to your lawyer about other benefit options as you wait for the 12 months to finish. Also, research local community programs. There are many non-profit organizations that could support you before your SSD begins.
The Social Security Administration Cannot Reach You
If you’ve been out of work for some time, you may have had to make some big life changes. You could have moved, and you may have lost your phone service. Make sure that all the information on your application is up to date. Government can take some time to process and clear a request, and if your contact information has changed since applying, you need to alert the SSA.
You Were Accused of Ignoring Medical Advice
Medical treatment takes place both inside and outside of a doctor’s office. When you are given instructions on medications, therapies, and so forth, make sure to follow through with them. If you followed your doctor’s instructions and were still denied benefits, contact an attorney. They can help you compile the appropriate evidence of your efforts to submit to the SSA.
You Were Accused of Addiction
Without knowing the entire context of your illnesses and medications, the SSA may believe that your disability is the result of chemical addiction. Even when you do not develop a dependency, you could suffer from a prescribed drug’s side effects. When this happens, it is time to bring in legal help. Your attorney can help push back, working toward explaining the entirety of your situation and helping you receive your benefits.
The SSA Judges Your Criminal Record
Those who are imprisoned cannot receive SSD. Beyond that, the SSA sometimes denies benefits to people with a record, even if they have already paid their debt. Even worse, they may believe that your injury was the result of criminal behavior, denying your compensation. If you have a criminal record, ask a lawyer to help you apply for SSD. They may know of ways to work around this problem, getting you the benefits you need.
You Were Accused of Fraud
Intentionally lying on an SSD application is a form of fraud, as it is an attempt to receive money that isn’t deserved. Remember that the SSA is an organization made of regular people, and those people make mistakes. They can easily misinterpret information and accuse you of lying, denying your benefits. Have your lawyer overlook your application and the resulting denial. They may be able to see where the confusion occurred and help rectify the problem.
The Appeal Process
If you have been denied SSD, have your lawyer begin working on an appeal. With their skill and knowledge, they can help build your argument for benefits. Fortunately, there are many levels of appeal, and your attorney should be able to help you with them all. You have 60 days to appeal a denial, so make sure to work quickly.
- First Appeal: After your initial denial, you can reach out to your state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) office.
- Second Appeal: If you are denied again, you can request a hearing. An administrative judge from the ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) will question you, and you can present your evidence to them.
- Third Appeal: Denied a second time, you may reach out to the Appeals Council. Like before, you can present your case at a hearing.
- Final Appeal: When all else fails, you can take the matter to a federal court. As a government entity, the SSA must abide by all rulings from this court. If your facts are clear and your argument is sound, you may be able to receive the compensation you need.