You have a disability and you are struggling to make ends meet. The COVID Pandemic doesn’t help and you know that you will have to apply for Social Security benefits if you hope to survive. Unfortunately, a lot of people are applying for benefits these days. It takes them a while to process your application and then they tell you that you do not qualify.
Fortunately, you can appeal to the Social Security office if they deny your claim. You will actually increase your chances of getting approved if you appeal their initial decision rather than if you begin a new application. It is important to understand the reason for denial, so you can provide or correct any information they might need to accept you.
Reasons that SSI Applications Get Denied
If the Social Security office has denied your claim, you will receive a denial letter. The letter will normally reiterate the medical conditions that you have listed. The office will go over the facts that they considered when they were investigating your case. Ultimately, they will look at your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC).
The Social Security office may go into great detail about your medical conditions and why it should not stop you from working. They are likely to have scrutinized your work history to find out if your disability would limit you from doing a previous job.
How Residual Functional Capacity is Determined
The majority of disability claims are initially denied. When the Social Security office receives your application, an evaluator will look at your RFC. They will take your medical condition into consideration and base much of their decision on the limitations that have been determined by medical research.
They will also look at anything your doctor has to say about your particular case. Such things as your level of pain and any psychological effects may also be taken under advisement.
Ultimately, the examiner will try to determine your ability to perform tasks in spite of your physical limitations. They will look at whether or not you can speak clearly. They will want to make sure that your eyesight is okay or can be corrected and if your hearing levels are in an acceptable range to work.
They will also want to know if your injuries have affected your comprehension. The evaluator will want to know if you can understand instructions and if you can adapt to changes in a work setting. They will gauge your ability to remember things that you might have to know for work based on your medical records.
They will also look at such things as your ability to balance your body and your ability to carry and lift objects. They will evaluate how long you can sit, stand and perform repetitive activities.
For example, if you have Multiple Sclerosis, you may get dizzy easily, feel weak, and experience bladder control problems. This may prevent you from jobs that involve being on your feet or that involve driving. If you have an office job, MS can cause fatigue and affect your ability to perform mentally.
How to Appeal the Denial
The first appeal for a disability claim with the Social Security office will be called a “reconsideration.” You must request a reconsideration within 60 days of the date on your denial letter.
Getting a reconsideration from the Social Security office is a bit like getting a second opinion from a doctor. A brand new examiner will review your case.
The first thing you should do before filling out the reconsideration form is to contact Pisegna and Zimmerman, a Social Security lawyer in Los Angeles. Consulting with a professional who has years of experience in dealing with the Social Security office is a good idea when you have been denied. They can advise you about such things as filling out forms. They can also speak to the Social Security office on your behalf if need be the case.
The form you will fill out is very simple. It will include your basic information such as name, age, and Social Security number. It will have a section in which you may state why you disagree with the original decision.
If you are again denied benefits you will still want to appeal the case. You will have a hearing and it is very important to hire a lawyer at this stage.
The Second Appeal
If the second evaluator also denies your claim, you will have 60 days from the reconsideration denial to file yet another appeal. You will appear before an Administrative Law Judge. You will fill out more paperwork and start anew at this stage.
The judge is sure to question you at this point. They may also call expert witnesses such as doctors and disability professionals. Your attorney may be able to put you in contact with a vocational expert who can testify about the specific reasons you are unable to perform your job.
They will ask you why you simply don’t change professions. You will have to prove that you don’t have the skills to do another job. You will need to provide the judge with plenty of information about your previous job and the skills that when into it.
Chances are you will wait a good long while for your ALJ hearing. In some cases, it can take up to nine months.
Choosing a Lawyer
The attorney you choose should specialize in Social Security claims and have an excellent reputation with the California State bar. They should be able to provide you with references and have plenty of time to work on your case. You also want to hire an attorney who provides you with realistic and finite time parameters for each stage of your case. Unlike some legal actions, a Social Security appeal should not drag on for years. Make sure your attorney outlines their plan for you.
You paid into the Social Security system for a long time. It should be there for you when you need it.