Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federally funded program providing financial help to those whose medical conditions prevent them from working for 12 months or longer. The SSDI claims process is complex, and unfortunately, it is common for people with legitimate claims to be denied benefits.
Working with an experienced disability lawyer is vital to help you receive the benefits you need. The social security disability attorneys at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm will guide you through the filing process to ensure your claim goes smoothly. Even if you have already been denied, our attorneys can review your case and help you move forward with an appeal.
Social Security Disability Claims Process
Securing Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not as simple as you might think. Even if you are clearly disabled, the process of trying to obtain benefits can be difficult, intimidating, and even discouraging.
The burden to prove that you cannot work your most recent job or any other job in the future is placed upon you as the claimant, but you may be unaware of all of your rights or how to file a claim correctly.
Most disability claims and appeals are denied; however, claimants who use a lawyer are far more likely to win their claims than those who do not. This is why you should enlist the help of a South Carolina attorney to help you file or appeal your disability claim.
SSDI Acceptance and Denial Rates
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average acceptance rate of initial disability applications is between 20 and 23%. One of the reasons up to 80% of claims get denied the first time around is that most people who file on their own make mistakes on their application, which can result in an immediate denial of benefits.
This is why it is wise to work with a disability lawyer from the start. Your disability lawyer can file your claim correctly and has the resources to follow up on your claim. They can also offer guidance and support throughout the application/appeals process.
Your disability lawyer will build a strong case by gathering necessary medical records, forms, and evaluations on your behalf, as well as fight for you in court, should your case require it. Our aim is to get your claim approved the first time, but if that doesn’t happen, we will keep working to bring you the benefits you need.
Why Disability Claims Get Denied
Each disability claim is unique; however, there are a few reasons that claims are often rejected.
Here are some of the leading reasons why a claim might be denied:
- Lack of medical evidence or documentation
- Prior denials (applicants should appeal instead of just starting over)
- Too high earnings (disability is intended for people who cannot work)
- Failure to follow through with prescribed treatments
- Failure to cooperate with the Social Security Administration
Many legitimate claims are not approved by the SSA. However, it is important to understand that just because a claim is denied the first time does not mean that you do not qualify for social security benefits. One of our experienced attorneys can advise you of your next steps.
What To Do if Your Disability Case is Denied
When you are denied benefits, you should always appeal within the timeframe provided by the Social Security Administration. Do not start a new application or allow time to expire because you will be sent to the end of the line once again.
Did you know that decision wait times can range from six months to two or three years in some areas? A disability hearing affords you the opportunity to tell your story to the administrative law judge and gets you one step closer to a decision.
If your application ends up getting denied or has already been denied, don’t give up. An experienced attorney can help you appeal this decision and will continue fighting for the compensation you deserve.
Social Security Disability Appeals Process
Please keep in mind that most claims are initially denied, and appealing that denial is often a necessary hurdle.
There are four stages in the social security disability appeals process:
Reconsideration involves the review of your file by a fresh pair of eyes. Someone who was not involved in the first decision will be looking at your case, and your attorney can advise you on which information to add to your file to increase your chance of approval this time around.
If upon reconsideration, your claim is still denied, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). You may present witnesses at this hearing, such as doctors and vocational experts.
Appeals council review
If the hearing with the ALJ does not go your way, you can then request a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council. The Appeals Council can do one of three things:
- Deny your request for a review
- Conduct a review and make a decision
- Refer your case back to the ALJ
District court case
After a disappointing decision from the Appeals Council, you may continue pursuing your claim by filing a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration. If you live here in South Carolina, this will need to be done in the federal district court in South Carolina.
There you will be allowed to bring evidence and testimony before a district court judge. Although you are not required to have an attorney help you apply for SSD or appeal a denied claim, the process is complicated and critical deadlines you must meet.
Not only that but when it comes to presenting evidence from an expert witness, such as your doctor, having an experienced trial lawyer there to question that witness could be crucial to the success of your case.
What To Expect at a Social Security Disability Hearing
You must know that if you have a disability hearing scheduled, you should expect the Social Security Administration to hire medical and vocational experts to testify against you.
If you are not prepared to cross-examine them, you might want to hire a South Carolina attorney who is trained to do so.
Contact a South Carolina Disability Attorney Today
Our team at the Shelly Leeke Law firm understands the claims process and is committed to protecting your rights. We help people throughout South Carolina get Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) they need to support themselves and their dependents and get the medical treatment they require.
The sooner we begin working on your case, the sooner you can receive the benefits you need. Also, keep in mind that there is a time limit for filing an appeal if your initial claim has been denied. Contact our social security disability lawyers today to schedule a no-cost consultation.