What To Do If You Are Denied SSD Benefits: Your First Three Steps
Generally, within three to six months after you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you will receive a letter in the mail. This letter will tell you whether your claim has been approved or denied.
If the letter states that your benefits claim was denied, the lawyers of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., want you to consider taking these three steps:
1. Read the letter carefully.
The denial letter that you receive in the mail – also called a Notice of Disapproved Claim – will contain much information. However, two pieces of information will be the most important to you as you move forward in seeking SSD benefits.
First, the letter will state the reason why your application was denied. It will be important for you to know, for instance, whether you were denied based on technical reasons or due to a finding that you do not suffer from a condition that prevents you from working.
When you review the letter, you may also notice that the two-person team from Disability Determination Services of the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department (DDS) did not review all of the medical records you provided or misunderstood your job duties and your ability to work.
Second, the letter will have a date. If you decide to appeal the decision on your claim, you will need to initiate your appeal within 60 days from that date (plus five days that are allowed for receipt of the letter).
If you fail to act within this time period, it could cost you your right to appeal and lead to you starting the SSD benefits application from scratch – something you do not want to happen.
2. Contact an attorney immediately.
After you have completed the first step, you will know why your claim was denied and how much time you have to file for an appeal. With this information in hand, you should seek the assistance of an experienced disability benefits attorney right away.
For example, the first stage in your appeal will be to file a written Request for Reconsideration within 60 days from the date of your denial letter. This request can be filed on online or by mail. Either way, you must make sure to use the correct forms and clearly describe why you disagree with the decision.
An attorney can ensure that your request is timely and properly filed and start work right away on making sure that the new DDS team that considers your claim has accurate, complete and up-to-date information.
3. Make a commitment to seeing the process through.
You can rely on your attorney to pay close attention to your case and carefully steer it through the SSD appeals process. In many cases, an attorney can take actually take steps to try to speed up the appeals process.
However, in most cases, you will need to be prepared for a long wait. For instance, it may take several months for a decision to be made on your Request for Reconsideration.
If your claim is denied again, then you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. However, in South Carolina, it could take 14-16 months before that hearing takes place. Then, after the hearing, several weeks or months could pass before the ALJ announces a decision.
Further appeals would only add more time to your case.
You need to assess why you need disability benefits for yourself and your family. Then, you need to commit yourself to seeing the process through to its conclusion.
Along the way, you have to put trust in your lawyer and work with your lawyer in establishing the most persuasive case possible. It may require you undergoing additional medical examinations. It may also require preparing for a hearing.
As we have found at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., many SSD applicants who stay focused and persistent ultimately prevail in their efforts to obtain benefits. As attorneys, we find nothing more gratifying than seeing our clients finally secure the benefits they need and deserve.
If you are committed to seeking benefits, we will be, too. We will fight for you at every stage in the process.
Contact a Spartanburg Disability Benefits Lawyer Today
To learn more about what you can do if your disability benefits claim was denied, call or contact us online today. We serve disabled workers and their families throughout Spartanburg, Greenville and surrounding areas in Upstate South Carolina. We are ready to go to work for you right away.