You're Not Alone: When You've Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits

2 June 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


If you have been denied social security disability benefits after your initial application, you are not alone. In 2010, only 36.3% of all applications were approved when submitted for the first time. Reasons for denial often include incomplete paperwork, or paperwork not submitted on time, or a lack of proof that the disability does not meet the medical standard of severity to receive benefits. While this is a frustrating process, it's important to understand that many people are denied benefits the first time who are actually entitled to receive benefits.

The First Step Is to Ask for a Reconsideration

When you ask for a reconsideration, your entire claim will be reviewed once again. The good news is, this review is done by an examiner and medical claims consultant that did not work on your initial claim. You must call and ask to speak with a representative of your local social security office in order to begin the reconsideration process. According to the Social Security Disability Resource Center, roughly 87% of reconsideration cases are once again denied. 

After Reconsideration for Social Security Disability Benefits Is Denied

If you receive a letter stating that you are once again denied benefits, you have sixty days to file an appeal for a hearing. This type of hearing is an Administrative Law Judge Hearing, or ALJ, and you will go in front of an attorney acting on behalf of the Social Security Administration. The judge will review your case and make a determination on benefits. While this type of hearing used to result in a higher percentage of approvals of 63%, changes in how the SSA monitors cases have reduced this acceptance rate to 45%. This is still higher than the initial approval rate, and it is worth taking your case to an appeal in front of an Administrative Law Judge to try and receive benefits.

When You've Been Denied Benefits After an ALJ Hearing

You can ask that the Appeals Council review your case. The problem with this step is that the Appeals Council doesn't have to review your case, and can deny your request. When there isn't strong evidence to back up the decision made by the Administrative Law Judge, the Appeals Council will review your case. This is a step that has minimal success for applicants, and is often where disability applicants give up.

If you have been trying to get disability benefits and you have been denied, it's time to call an attorney like Bruce K Billman who can help you.