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“My Disability Claim Has Been Denied. What Do I Do Next?”

By Christina November 21, 2017

Our aim as your Social Security Disability advocates is to help you obtain a fast and favorable decision. Unfortunately, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) landscape can be unpredictable, and many claims are denied at least once before being approved. Do not be discouraged if you receive a denial from Social Security; this is very common, and we can help! When your application is medically denied, you have 60 days from the date on the denial notice that you receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to file an appeal.

In most states, there are two levels of appeal: the reconsideration appeal and the request for hearing appeal. There is also a handful of states (known as prototype states, because they are part of a prototype SSA is testing in an attempt to streamline the process) that skip over the reconsideration level when a claim is denied and go directly to the hearing level. There are currently ten prototype states:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • California (in the Los Angeles North and Los Angeles West SSA branches only)
  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

While we encourage you not to be discouraged or lose hope if you receive a denial notice, we recognize that it can feel both frustrating and confusing to have your claim be denied. You have worked hard and contributed to the Social Security programs, and so it’s completely normal for you to be upset that you haven’t been given the benefits you are entitled to, especially since you cannot work at your current/most recent job. Unfortunately, SSA cannot see you and the impact of your disability day-to-day, and there is a reason why they are so strict in their evaluation of your claim.

SSA looks at numerous factors to determine if you are disabled, including your age, medical conditions, education, and previous work history—and they do this to be sure that the people who truly cannot work are able to receive the benefits they need and deserve.  However, this strict review often results in deserving individuals being denied benefits.  Even though you may not be able to do your current job, Social Security may find you able to perform other types of work based upon these factors, and that’s why many applicants are denied at least once, and why many end up going to a hearing—where the success rate is the highest.

If your claim has been denied and your next step is a hearing, we can help you get prepared for your hearing, as the request for hearing process can be particularly confusing.  When you file a request for hearing, there is not an examiner assigned to your disability claim like at the initial and reconsideration levels. Instead, you are requesting to be have your appeal heard by an administrative law judge. Just like taking a ticket at the deli, the request for hearing holds your spot and guarantees you the chance to have your case looked at by a judge. In some upcoming blog posts, we will go into more detail about the hearing process and what to expect, but while you stay tuned for those, please know that The Advocator Group is here to answer all your questions and work with you towards a favorable outcome.

Regardless of which level you are appealing to, give us a call to schedule a phone appointment with one of our representatives. Our Client Advocates have been specially trained to assist you in completing these appeals with attention to small, everyday details that can make a substantial difference in whether a claim is approved!


This post was written by one of our Client Advocates, Kristen.

Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way.  The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances.

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Brown & Brown can help you better understand and take advantage of the many benefits of Social Security Disability, to help maximize your financial well-being during your period of disability.

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