When you're unable to work due to an injury or long-term disability, you should be able to rely on the Social Security benefits you've paid into throughout the course of your working life. Unfortunately, many initial applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied. If this has recently happened to you, however, you should not give up. In fact, there are a few steps you can take to appeal your denial and claim the benefits you may be entitled to.
Find Out the Reason for the Denial
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to inform you of the reason for your application denial, so be sure to carefully read the denial letter they sent you. There are many reasons as to why a claim may be initially denied; this could be anything from an error in the information you provided to a lack of documentation for your disability.
Consult With a Social Security Disability Attorney
Once you have your denial letter from the SSA, it's time to consult with an experienced Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible. Bring a copy of your denial letter with you so that your attorney can review it and help you make more sense of the reasoning as needed. An experienced attorney will be able to speak with you about the details of your case to determine whether you have a strong case for an appeal.
File a Formal Appeal With the SSA
Should your attorney advise you that you have a case for an appeal, it's time to get started with the formal appeals process through the SSA. The first step you'll need to take is to fill out the formal paperwork required for an appeal. The next steps will vary depending on the reason for your denial. For example, if you were simply missing documentation with your first application, you may only need to have your lawyer submit that documentation with a new and updated application.
Prepare for a Disability Hearing (If Needed)
Depending on the complexity of your case, it is possible that you'll need to attend a disability appeal hearing. If it comes down to this, you will definitely want to have a lawyer there to represent you and make your case. He or she will be able to provide the best explanation as to why you should be eligible to receive benefits while taking much of the stress off you.