The Social Security Administration (SSA) routinely denies over half of the applications it receives, so don't be surprised if your application is denied. Many, if not most, appeals result in a favorable decision, so it's almost always worth your time to appeal. Finally, be aware that the appeals are very time sensitive, so read through the guide below and start the appeals process as soon as possible.
Why Were You Denied Social Security Benefits?
First, take the time to read the decision the SSA sent you to figure out exactly why you were denied in the first place. Once you know why you were denied, you can begin to collect the necessary documentation to correct the error. If you were denied Social Security disability benefits, the most likely reasons for the denial are:
When to Appeal
Your appeal must be filed within 60 days of the denial decision as dated in the letter. If you wait longer than the 60 days, you will have to start over and reapply at the initial level and get denied all over again, a tremendous waste of time and something that won't look good on your appeal. So get started immediately on your appeal.
Where to Appeal
The preferred method for appealing is to use the SSA's internet appeals process at (www.ssa.gov). There are two parts to the internet appeals process:
Your other option is to appeal the denial of benefits in writing. There are several forms to complete, depending on what you are appealing, including:
The Appeals Process
The appeals process can be rather lengthy and has several different potential steps. Here's an outline of the levels of appeal available to you:
Consider contacting a social security benefits lawyer during this process, but especially if you plan on going before the Appeals Council and definitely before you end up in U.S. District Court.
What to Bring to Your Appeal
Once you've determined why your application for benefits was denied, you'll know how to respond. Don't try to be technical or confrontational, simply respond to the reason you were denied with proof that the situation is otherwise. The best forms of evidence come from professionals such as your employer or doctor, rather than relatives or other related witnesses. Documentation from your employer or doctor will often be the key to changing the SSA's mind.
Contact a qualified social security lawyer to assist in your social security disability or retirement benefits issue.