With about two-thirds of initial Social Security Disability (SSD) claims denied, it is natural to wonder how to get your claim approved — especially with the bulk of the appeals process taking place under the control of the Social Security Administration (SSA). As long as you meet the basic work history requirements and have a qualified disability, your chances are better than you might expect, particularly if you have the support of an experienced SSD attorney to guide you through the process.
The SSA denies initial claims for a variety of reasons, but most initial denials generally boil down to a claim failing to provide sufficient information or documentation to substantiate the disability in question. While the SSA offers do-it-yourself information in its online booklet, it also explains your right to have someone represent you throughout the process, which involves up to four levels of appeal, as follows:
Reconsideration. This process involves having someone else review the initial claim, including any new evidence you supply in response to issues cited in the initial denial letter.
Hearing. If the reconsideration results in denial, you can bring your case before an administrative law judge. These proceedings typically require you and your representative to present your case, including any additional evidence and witness testimony.
Appeals Council review. The Appeals Council may deny a request for additional review, return your case to an administrative law judge or perform its own review of a case presented in the hearing.
Federal court. If a claim is denied in the prior appeals level, an attorney is required to take the case out of the SSA and file a lawsuit in a federal district court.
The good news is that most valid Social Security Disability claims can be resolved without the need to file a lawsuit. The earlier you enlist the support of an attorney who understands how to effectively substantiate a claim, the sooner you can expect to gain approval and begin receiving the benefits you need and deserve.