SSD/SSI Denials and Appeals 

When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSI), it’s important to remember that getting approved isn’t easy. You’ll need to effectively manage the process in order to ensure a favorable outcome. Sadly, most claims get denied at least once before a person is approved. According to studies, around 70 percent of claims are turned away at the Initial Application level and over 80 percent are denied when the application reaches the Reconsideration level. To have the best chance of winning, you need to present your case in a disability Hearing, but approvals still hover around 50 percent. 

What Is a Denial? 

Disability applications can be denied for several reasons, but ultimately it’s because the Social Security Administration determines that you don’t meet their requirements to be ruled “disabled.” At each phase of a disability claim, there is a 5-step sequential evaluation process. In order to best convince them that your medical condition prevents you from being able to work or train for a new job, you’ll need credibility and compelling medical evidence. 

Why Was I Denied? 

Primarily, there are two distinct types of disability denials. Non-medical denials result from not having enough work credits (years spent working and paying FICA taxes). Medical denials, on the other hand, result from lack of claim credibility or insufficient medical evidence. 

How to Appeal 

There are several ways to appeal your disability claim. No matter how you decide to do it, you should obtain proof of the date on which you appealed. This way, if the SSA loses your paperwork, you can continue with your claim without starting over. 

The first way to appeal is to go to your local Social Security office. Your denial letter will contain the address. Take your denial letter, a list of your medical providers names and addresses, and a list of current medications so you can easily complete the appeal papers. You’ll have help from a claims representative. Make sure you receive a receipt and a copy of everything you submit. 

You can also appeal by mail or phone. The SSA will send you the appropriate paperwork and your appeal will not be complete until that paperwork is received back at the SSA. Be sure to mail the papers back by certified mail and ask for a return receipt. 

Lastly, you can appeal online at the SSA website. With your denial letter in hand, it should only take you a few minutes to complete the appeal and print a confirmation. The Disability Report – Appeal takes extra time, but you can obtain a reentry number so you can come back to finish without timing out. For this, you will need a list of current medications and a list of the names and addresses of any medical care providers you’ve seen since you last filed or appealed. 

How Many Times Can I Appeal? 

You’ll have 65 days from the date listed on your denial letter to file an appeal. If you don’t have a good reason (by SSA standards) for filing late, you’ll need to start the application process over again.  

85 percent of claimants who appeal are denied again, but don’t let this discourage you. Instead, start working on your second appeal. Most second appeals are approved because those making the decisions at the SSA finally get to meet you and see your impairment for themselves. The second appeal has an extra form compared to your initial appeal, but it shouldn’t add a lot of extra time. 

Getting approved for SSDI is incredibly difficult and the application process can be confusing. It’s best to speak with a disability attorney before getting started. We can guide you through the application process and individuals with a lawyer are more likely to have their appeal approved. If you’re ready to get started, call the Disability Help Center at 1-888-418-8860 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.