Five Tips to Win Your Disability Appeal
Being injured is bad enough. Learning that you may be disabled and out of work for many weeks or months is worse. Having your disability claim rejected by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and facing the prospect of starting the process all over again is just awful. You still have a chance to appeal, and you should do everything you can to get your case accepted the second time around.
Most cases are rejected for paperwork reasons, not because the applicant did not have a disabling condition. According to the SSA, most applications are rejected for things like failing to comply with deadlines or providing required documentation. Remember that when it’s time for the appeal. Your chances are better if you contact Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. and let us give you a hand.
- Pay attention to the dates. SSA will send you a denial notice with a “date of denial.” Those dates may not be the same. You only have 60 days from the date of denial to file your appeal, so you need to act right away. You may have lost some time between the date of the denial and getting the notice, so don’t wait.
- Pay attention to the details. The SSA denial should explain exactly what it is that your first claim was missing. If their denial notes that you were missing some medical evidence in your first claim, then that evidence needs to be present in your appeal. If you failed to meet the SSA’s definition of “disability,” you may need to have your doctor refine the definition of your injury.
- Provide everything they ask for. Even if you sent documents before or already provided your medical records once, send them again. The SSA will want you to meet with their own doctor for a “consultative examination” to verify your injuries. You must do this. If you can’t make the appointment, don’t just skip it. You must make all your appointments and provide all requested documentation if you want to win your appeal.
- Don’t exaggerate, but don’t minimize. In any discussion with any doctor or attorney, be honest about the extent and nature of your injuries. One of the important items in your appeal is that your description of your injury conform to the doctor’s reports. You should not be feeling worse or better than the doctor indicates.
- Keep copies of everything. You should have at least three copies of anything that SSA sends to you. One should be kept in your files, and one should be sent to your attorney. The third is for sending back to SSA with any documents they request. Having extra copies can seem excessive, but this way, you always have a backup when things get lost or you’re unsure of dates and deadlines.
There are four levels of appeal following the denial: the reconsideration, a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge, an Appeals Council Review, and a Federal Court review. If you have pressing questions about your case, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
When You Need an Attorney
At Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C., we recommend retaining an attorney as soon as possible once you determine you need to apply for benefits. Failing in that, you should get an attorney after your initial claim is rejected. It is in your best interests to have legal representation in your disability appeal.
- Deadlines and paperwork. Keeping track of when things are due is what our legal staff is trained for. They know how to calendar deadlines and notify you and your attorney when things must be sent out.
- Correspondence and communication. We can send out the documents SSA needs and make any phone calls they require while you do the work of getting better and going on with life. There’s no need for you to try to be your own law firm.
- Hearings. After the reconsideration, your documents go before a judge. You will need to present legal arguments for why the previous decision was wrong. Experts might even be called by SSA to support their position. You probably don’t know how to make these arguments, but we do.
- Appellate and federal review. When it’s time to go to court, you need an attorney who knows what court is like. It can be overwhelming for the layperson, but it’s our daily routine.
Contact Us for Help
When you’re already injured and have your disability claim denied, you need the assistance of attorneys who know how to appeal your denial and help you win. Contact the New York Social Security Disability lawyers of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. at 516-496-0400, or contact us online and we will give you the support and advice you need.