You suffered a serious injury on the job, and you will not be able to return to work. Although this can feel devastating, you know that there are systems such as workers’ compensation and Social Security disability insurance that provide medical and financial benefits to injured workers.
Even though you thought the process for receiving SSD benefits would be straightforward, you have received a denial for your application. How could this happen?
There are a number of reasons that the Social Security Administration denies claims:
- The SSA determines that your disability is not severe enough to qualify
- There is evidence that indicates your disability will not last at least 12 months
- You are able to perform your previous job duties or get a different kind of job
- You did not provide enough medical evidence with your application
- You did not follow your doctor’s orders
- You found a job that qualifies as gainful employment before the completion of the application approval process
- Alcohol or drug addiction led to your disability
Fortunately, the denial may not be the end of the road for you; the SSA has designed an appeals process. Within 60 days of receiving the denial, you may send a written request for an appeal. You may be worried that the person who reviewed your case will look it over again and give you the same answer. However, when you request a reconsideration, the SSA assigns a new person to your case. You have the opportunity to submit new evidence, as well.
You are not likely to be present at the reconsideration, but if you receive another denial, you may ask to schedule a hearing. Again, those involved in the denials will have no part in this new step in your case. Instead, you will present your case before an administrative law judge. In addition to new evidence, you can bring witnesses to strengthen your case, and the judge will ask questions so you can clarify any issues.
After a denial from an administrative law judge, you may seek another review, this time by the SSA’s Appeals Council. You may receive a denial or approval from the Council, or it may send your case back to a judge to be reviewed again. Your final option is to take your case to court.