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Denied Benefits - Social Security Disability Appeals


There are many people in the United States who, for one reason or another or even several, are unable to work and earn a reasonable living. When such circumstances arise, that person needs to look for any opportunity for help, and one of the preferred resources available is applying for either SSD or SSI benefits through the Social Security Administration.


The SSA serves the needs of many, but unfortunately, this agency needs to take every possible precaution to prevent against fraudulently-obtained payments. That’s why the process of obtaining benefits is arduous and time-consuming, and also why statistics show that the majority of applications for benefits are not approved.


Below you’ll find an overview of why benefits can be denied and the appeal rights that coincide with these denials. The best way to proceed no matter where you may be in your pursuit of benefits is to contact Privett Law today to schedule an initial consultation.


Reasons for Denied Benefits


There are many reasons why an applicant could be denied benefits. Generally speaking, these denials can be categorized into ‘medical’ reasons and ‘non-medical’ reasons. In regards to medical reasons, the SSA may deny benefits because your condition is not one that will last long enough to qualify in general, your condition cannot be corroborated by a second medical care provider or you do not have a condition that prevents others from working.


These are obviously extremely general answers to the issue of denied benefits, but every denial rests upon the individual facts presented to the government when the application is filed, and you will be given an explanation if you request one. Basically, those making the decisions will likely look at your case from the standpoint of the likelihood of your ability to work in the future, and as said, the majority of the claims at the initial stages are denied.


There are also several non-medical reasons that are put forth as support for denied benefits. These could include such factors as a living situation, whereby the applicant lives with family members who can reasonably support the disabled party (which would likely be an SSI claim), where the applicant has not accrued enough work credits in recent years to justify full benefits and the possibility of other outlets for sustaining a lifestyle, such as the existence of supplemental medical insurance for a period of time.


Overall, the reasons for denied benefits in any of the SSA-funded programs are several in number, and many applicants who are denied at the initial, pre-hearing stages are left baffled as to why they have been denied benefits. This is why you need to work with a benefits lawyer from the Oklahoma law firm of Atkins & Markoff from the beginning of this process. You need answers all the way through the program, and you need to be sure that you are not overlooking what may seem like minute details that could actually make all the difference in your ultimate disposition.


Disability Appeals in Oklahoma


Fortunately, there are several opportunities for disability appeals throughout the application for benefits process. Part of the reason for this plethora of disability appeals is that applicants deserve the chance to prove their case, but the reality is that the majority of these claims are denied, and the administrative process is such that applicants need to exhaust all of their remedies with the SSA before considering the possibility of filing disability appeals in federal court.


Request for Reconsideration Appeal


If you file an initial form that requests benefits, that form and the corresponding documentation that paints a picture of your situation is reviewed by the government. In response, the government will either award benefits or send a notice of the denial of your application. If you are denied in writing, your first step is to file a request for reconsideration, which is still basically an appeal that’s limited to the written forms available.


Request a Hearing Appeal


Unfortunately, statistics show in general that less than one in four requests for reconsideration actually lead to an award of benefits, which is why you will need to take the next step if that request is denied. The next step is requesting a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ, to present your evidence and to examine witnesses. You can also formulate arguments to present to the ALJ, which is yet another reason why an attorney who understands this process is so critical to your ultimate efforts to obtain benefits.


The Appeals Council


If the ALJ issues his written decision after the hearing and you are once again denied benefits, the disability appeals process stays within the SSA for one final step. Your ALJ-written decision will be reviewed by the Appeals Council of the SSA, who will examine the entire record and decide whether or not to overturn the previous decisions. Once again, denied benefits decisions are rarely overturned at this stage of the disability appeals process, but at this point you have exhausted all of your administrative remedies, leading to one final opportunity.


Federal Court


The final step in the disability appeals process for denied benefits is to take the matter to federal court. This is the last option available, and it’s a difficult hurdle to overcome. However, you owe it to yourself to continue the fight if you are entitled to benefits, as your benefits lawyer I will be able to help you through this process like any other.


Your Next Step, Contact Us


As you can see, the process of obtaining benefits from the SSA is difficult, but far from impossible. The best way to make sure that you’re building the strongest case possible is to contact Privett Law as soon as possible to get this process started.